1996 State Trail Administrators Meeting
Workshop notes by Stuart Macdonald, American Trails
NOTE: This discussion took place prior to finalizing the National Recreational Trails Funding Program Guidance. As a result, several items in the discussion have been superceded.
Workshop Summary: State Trail Administrators and others involved in State funding programs were invited to an all-day session to learn more about the National Recreational Trails Funding Program (NRTF). For the first time since 1993, funds have become available to States to provide grants for trail-related projects. Topics of the workshop included:
- Background of the NRTF
- Successes and problems with the program
- Changes in the program resulting from the 1995 funding
- Where are we now with State eligibility and funding allocations
- Draft Guidance for the National Recreational Trails Funding Program
- Questions and answers from the experience of the States
- How States are implementing and using their State Trail Advisory Boards
- How States are managing and implementing their 1996 funds
John Fegan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC, opened the workshop with a discussion of how FHWA ended up with the program and how it fits in with other bicycle/pedestrian and transportation programs. The attendees, representing 21 States, introduced themselves.
Christopher Douwes, National Recreational Trails Funding Program Manager for FHWA, discussed how the Program worked in 1993. Even though the program was funded for only one year, its success is indicated by the fact that every State used their allocations and funded 478 trail projects. Even though only $7.5 million was available, States received requests to fund 1,400 projects totalling $34 million. Over $1 million of funds went to USFS as well as other Federal agencies, showing they can be successful applicants as well as good partners.
Problems encountered during administration of 1993 NRTF funds
Even though the Trails Program was successful in its first year, especially for a start-up program, a number of concerns emerged. The sheer diversity of States with their own various needs and management styles raised questions and possible changes for the future. Problems and concerns include:
- Program Responsibility: The program was originally intended to go to Department of the Interior. It actually ended up a responsibility of the Department of Transportation and for a variety of complex reasons didn't get contract authority; which didn't go over well in some States. Some States called the program requirements an "unfunded Federal mandate" and didn't want to appoint a State Trails Advisory Board or otherwise comply with the restrictions of the program.
- Allocation Formula: When the law was written the allocation formula was: 30% for motorized projects, 30% for nonmotorized, and 40% for "diversified use". People have had difficulty with the concept that categories can overlap. In other words, a diversified project can also be motorized (or entirely nonmotorized) so that any or all of the categories can come out to more than 40%.
- State Recreational Trail Advisory Boards (SRTABs): Some States have had difficulty in appointing a board that will meet the requirements of the NRTF Act. Still an issue is who has to be represented on the SRTAB. You have to have actual trail user representatives, and include both motorized and nonmotorized representatives. The law doesn't state exactly how many of each, but the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee (NRTAC) urges States to appoint fair committees based on each State's mix of trail users. Adding one motorized person to a board of entirely non-motorized users may be legal, but it doesn't follow the spirit of the law. States can also include members of any other agencies or interests. One State, however, appointed only State parks people, transportation people, and land trust people. Without trail user representation this example is not an acceptable SRTAB.
- Program Timing: The fact that the program was new and not entirely clear caused some delays for States. Getting Federal partners geared up and participating was a problem for some. Likewise the FHWA regional and division offices needed time to understand the program and their role.
Eligibility and Certification for the 1996-97 Program
Certification means that a State certifies that it is in compliance with the requirements of the NRTF Act and, upon receiving the allocation from FHWA, can spend the money. While June 4 is the deadline for States to be certified, FHWA is in process of making the State allocations. After first contacting the respective Congressional offices, the first 20 States were announced at the National Trails Symposium. The assumption on allocations is that all States would be eligible; FHWA will redistribute any money left if some States don't certify. For certification, a one to two-page letter is fine.
The basic requirements for certification are:
- Designation of agency that administers NRTF Program;
- Name of the responsible State official;
- That the funds will be used on a plan identified in a SCORP;
- That the State will meet 30-30-40 allocation formula (remembering that diversified means more than one trail use on each project);
- Appointment of an acceptable State Recreational Trail Advisory Board.
- The 1991 NRTF Act decreed that by the end of 1994 States would have to have SRTABs in place. In 1993 you could get funded without a SRTAB, but now you have to have it established before you can get funding. Because no funding was allocated after 1993, some States still haven't established a SRTAB. FHWA went to their lawyers and asked if they could be flexible on this requirement, but SRTAB is required in order to be certified.
- If you don't make June 4 deadline, you can't get 1996 money. You can get 97 funds if you make a September 30 deadline; once you're certified in 96 you don't have to reapply for 97.
- Several States commented that they need FHWA to be flexible, and if requirements are held to more strictly, then get with States to help us understand changes and provide input.
Coordination with Federal Agencies and FHWA:
One aspect of coordination is within FHWA. It has Division and Regional offices as well as in Washington, DC, where John Fegan and Christopher Douwes are headquartered. Even though the Program Guidance comes from Washington, the actual administration of the Trails Program takes place in the Division and Regional offices. For instance, questions about accounting procedures should be directed to the Division office in your State. A second aspect is getting State Departments of Transportation to help us understand the process, even though they aren't actually involved in most States. Some have been helpful, but some aren't interested in recreational trails or programs with such small funding. Another concern is that States have varying expectations of FHWA. Some want more specific guidance and for project requirements to be more clear cut. Others complain about the regulations they see as a hindrance to meeting their own trail users' needs and goals. Balance is needed between a program that is so driven by the States that you can't get decisions made, and one that is too driven by the Federal government in Washington, DC.
Allocation of Funds to the States:
The total Trails Program funds available nationwide are $15 million for each year, 1996 and 1997, less a small percentage of administrative funds for FHWA. Half of total is evenly split among all eligible States and the other half is allocated according to each State's share of off-highway recreational fuel use.
- State Allocations: Each State receives $141,000 plus a fuel use formula allocation. This is not part of Federal-aid highway funding, so it doesn't hurt their Federal allocation. Some States haven't participated in the National Scenic Byways program because of concerns that it would affect their unrestricted (Minimum Allocation) funds.
- Changes for 1996: The allocation formula for 1993 was based on good snowmobile and motorcycle information but very limited data on four-wheel drive and truck usage. The new study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to determine fuel usage resulted in quite a shift of increased funds to several States like Texas, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Minnesota's allocation, for instance, receives less for snowmobiles but it was found they had a lot of four-wheel drive use they didn't know about.
- Concerns About the Fuel Usage Formula: The formula is admittedly not perfect and there has been some criticism. The new Oak Ridge study used the 1987 Truck Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS), updated Motorcycle Industry Council data, and new snowmobile registration data. The conclusion is that truck use far outweighs snowmobile and motorcycle use. (The 1996 allocations used the 1992 TIUS as a basis, and other updated registration figures.) While the truck study is very detailed there are questions about its practical application to "recreational" use. For instance, which States do people from New Jersey go to use trails? Finally, the surveys don't entirely answer the question of what exactly is a trail. It isn't stated in the Act, and what may be OHV recreation can take place on roads that are funded by other means.
- Funding for 1997: The 1991 Act authorized up to $30 million each year, so in addition to the $15 million in contract authority, Congress could theoretically appropriate an additional $15 million. While that is unlikely, it is highly likely that $15 million will be available for 1997. States should plan for it but don't spent the funds yet.
Trails Program Guidance
Christopher Douwes outlined the draft Trails Program Guidance for 1996, including the changes that are new. This information along with questions from State administrators is summarized below. Some States delayed asking for project applications because of concerns about potential changes in the 1996 Guidance. Other States have assumed that their existing grants programs were suitable, or used the same mechanism as in 1993.
One requirement in the NRTF Act is that projects be identified in a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), or further goals of trail plans identified in or referenced in a current SCORP. This requirement can generally be interpreted fairly broadly, but make sure that trails are at least referenced in the SCORP. For instance, Delaware's SCORP simply identifies a strong need for trails in linear corridors. The practical reality is that States may know their trail needs, but they don't know which group's project will submit the best application, so it is not logical to be held to an extremely specific specific plan in advance. Another point is to coordinate recreation and transportation planning. To avoid problems with a new highway cutting across a trail corridor, be sure to get trails included in State and local transportation plans.
For the 1993 Trails Program funding, States had to comply with specific time limits. This year funds are coming from FHWA administrative funds, so they doesn't have a time limit. States can set their own time periods for grants, as nothing in Federal law states a deadline on when you actually have to spend or complete funding of projects. While States get an obligation limitation each year, if you don't use it you will lose it. FHWA will try to get funds rolled over, but strongly urges States to obligate their funds by September 30 or as soon as possible. States should choose projects that are ready to go, and if some aren't moving, take funds away from them and give to others.
- The bottom line is that States should show results: get the money spent.
- If a project changes, work with FHWA Division offices to modify if it's minor;
- If funds left over from several projects, lump them together and fund a new project;
- If you know that you're not going to use the money, you should turn it back in by August and you may be able to get it reallocated back to you for 97.
- If a project needs to be done in two stages, it can be split between between the two fiscal years.
Matching Fund Policies
Note: Much of the following discussion was superceded in the final Program Guidance. See 49 CFR 18.24.
One of the more difficult aspects of the 1996-97 program is a change that requires a 50% non-Federal match for NRTF funds. The 50/50 match is a little unusual for FHWA projects; 80/20 is more usual. The legislation allows donation of private funds, materials, and services at fair market value to be counted toward the match. The idea was to allow private group to donate materials or services or cash. That was supposed to be for the Enhancements Program only, but it has been opened up for the entire Federal-aid highway program. [Since the Trails Program will be administered using 49 CFR part 18 (Common Rule), the new Federal-aid highway program allowances are not applicable. However, the Common Rule already allowed private donations and in-kind services.] To the question of a "programmatic match" for a State's entire funding program, the answer is that each project has to be matched separately. However, the State may determine the source of the match so that it does not have to come directly from the actual project sponsor.
- Allowable Matches: Don't call any match, including State funds, a "donation". What you can't do is count State or local government donations of any kind. States can accept State or local government cash, but not materials or services, as a match. FHWA doesn't care where the non-Federal match comes from, as long as each project has its own specific, identified match with costs identified during the project period. A State could come up with its own match for each of the projects. Any State funds may be used for the match, such as motorized registration funds. [See 49 CFR 18.24.]
- Valuing a Match: To appropriately value the match, for instance, different kinds of labor, use the Federal rules for allowable costs and wages. These rules should be the same as for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Documentation is important: charge labor costs to each project with time sheets and show expenditures. If materials and services are used, costs have to be documented. For instance, State may own timber it wants to be used for bridges. It would need to document its cost as part of an approved project, but if it is a pre-existing supply of a material it may not be allowable. Talk to your FHWA Division contact because they have to sign off on these matching requirements. Your relationship has to be with them; Christopher Douwes won't look at and approve all of these matches.
- Up-Front Funding: [See 49 CFR 18.21.] Federal partners can work directly with FHWA to get funding for a project up front. They should contact FHWA as there is a procedure for a Federal agency (only) to get up-front money after State has received allocation authority. Non-profit groups also may ask for funding to be given up front. Progress payments are allowable, but there is not an easy way to do up-front funding. The law still requires a 50% match, and this should still be seen generally as a reimbursement program.
- Engineering Costs: Are these costs still part of the project and part of the project period as they are in LWCF projects? There is some flexibility tied to costs expended during a time period of prior planning. Christopher Douwes will add a section on pre-agreement costs (plans, survey, engineering, NEPA, etc).
- Land Acquisition: If a trail project is for land acquisition, and you do have a State source of funds for acquisition, then it is acceptable as long as it follows Federal regulations. If a land trust owns land along a greenway, they may want to use the land value as a match. In this case, use LWCF policies. But unless they give the property to the State or other applicant, it can't qualify as a match.
- Prison labor is another potential match but it is not clear how to value those labor costs. Even though the work done may be significant, prisoners may be receiving little or no pay. See Title 23; while there is not a standard answer, it is probably best to say no. [Title 23 restrictions will not apply, however, this issue was not yet resolved in the Program Guidance.]
- Youth programs are another potential match. Applicants should be advised to determine whether Federal money is involved. If it is, that portion of funding can't be allowed as a match.
- Non-profits are important partners, and concern over the 50% match and having to be reimbursed for expenses may keep some from applying? States should work with non-profits to help them with ideas or even State funds for the match. States can also help them build up to a larger project. These may be issues that should be addressed in the Trails Program reauthorization.
State Administrative Costs
States are allowed to spend up to 7% of their allocation for program administration costs. If you don't need all or part of the 7%, apply it to projects; it's a maximum, not a requirement. Allowable costs include what you need to administer this program. Trail Program education seminars are one example that was mentioned. While a specific project list is not required, States should develop a proposal of administrative costs and submit that to the FHWA Division. Describe what you're going to do with the administrative funds, like program travel. A match is not required; just document your salary or other State-funded program expenses using 49 CFR part 18.22 (Common Rule).
- Education expenses: States may use up to 5% of their allocation for environmental protection and safety education. This is also not a requirement, but a maximum. If education-related expenditures are part of a real on-the-ground project, they don't have to be limited to just the 5%; but if the project only includes brochures, videos, etc., it does have to be limited to 5%. [The Federal share for educational expenses is limited to 50%.]
- You can set aside administrative funding first, then if you don't use it, put it into projects.
- If you have 1993 funds left over, you can use them to pay for this meeting, but you can't use the 1996 funds.
- Environmental clearance costs can be part of the project cost. This not an administrative cost. If the Federal agencies use their time to do NEPA, work it may be difficult to determine what Federal expenditures will be allowed. In any case, Federal agencies cannot charge for State administrative costs.
- Arizona has suggested adding a surcharge for administration onto its local projects as they do with LWCF grants. There is a precedent for this, and as long as the State charges the applicant, it's not a FHWA issue.
- Be sure that you document costs and submit for reimbursement.
Funds for actual trail projects can be used in a very wide variety of ways, according to the determination of the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee (NRTAC). Keep in mind that funds are intended for recreational trails, not auto roads or other clearly transportation routes. A sidewalk along a road or other project with clear transportation benefits, unless it is a connector to a trail, may be more appropriately funded as an Enhancement or other ISTEA project. However, the State's SRTAB should make the decision, they're your partner.
- Project sponsors should install a sign crediting NRTF (this is a recommendation from NRTAC). There is no standard for such signs, but States can design their own. FHWA can't require a sign, but States can require local projects to install them.
- There have been questions about sign requirements from FHWA, such as stop signs on snowmobile trails. Theoretically, sponsors have to use approved roadway signs, which don't always seem appropriate. This may be a good issue for NRTAC. Bob Walker (Montana) and American Trails are also working on it.
- Design cost is another element that can be very expensive and it not always clear when it is allowable. Christopher Douwes will add language to be included in the final Guidance.
- Attachment E of the Guidance suggests manuals for trail construction standards and guidelines.
Environmental and Historic Requirements
Project sponsors do have to follow Federal environmental and historic requirements. States must document compliance. It is recommended that you give emphasis to environmental issues or environmental mitigation. It is also good for the Trails Program nationwide to show that it is helping fix up OHV (and other) problems.
- Most trail projects would qualify as Categorical Exclusions from NEPA. However, States should review each project to be sure it does not have significant environmental impacts. In 1993, Minnesota went through the whole Federal environmental assessment process, which was more than what was necessary. Other States generally do a more streamlined environmental review according to their own policies.
- FHWA has determined that Section 4(f), protection of publicly owned park lands, is not applicable to the Trails Program. However, Pennsylvania delayed approval for one project with a historic concern.
- States may apply Section 6(f)(3) protection (from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act). Then, if a new Federal project comes along that affects your NRTF-funded project, they have to avoid or mitigate. You can use 6(f)(3) selectively where it applies by notifying the National Park Service.
- Some States have experienced problems with the time it takes for their FHWA Division Office to communicate with their State Historic Preservation Office. The problem is that SHPO won't accept it directly (California), but in Georgia and Nebraska the projects went directly to SHPO.
- Some were concerned about motorized use in non-attainment areas, which may cover large areas of some States. FHWA will find out what the general conformity requirements are; OHV projects may be exempt or the impact may be insignificant.
Access for People with Disabilities
A goal of the Trails Program is to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, but to not be destructive or inappropriate. Not every single trail has to be accessible. The idea is to provide equivalent access and make a good faith effort, like using rolling drainage dips instead of water bars. Determining levels of accessibility, using USFS the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, and providing maps with better information on difficulty may be useful as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn't require recreational trails to meet standards for ramps and buildings. But, as an example, the rest area on a four-wheel drive route should be accessible since people with disabilities may be travelling in a vehicle. Use common sense: improve access but don't constrain projects merely to fit ADA since it's not a project-specific requirement. The State SRTAB may be a good advisor on accessibility issues. The new legislation added additional representative for disabled on the NRTAC and made it a voting position. States may or may not do the same.
USFS and BLM still need to approve projects on their lands. Any Federal agency is a potential partner; but you can't match Federal funds with Federal funds. Now that the NRTF Act require a 50% match, a Federal agency can participate but can't be the sole partner. the challenge for project sponsors is to find other non-Federal funds to make up the 50% match, even though the Federal agency may be contributing funds and/or services. There are some Federal programs which can be used as a match, such as Community Development Block Grants. A list will be included in the final Guidance.
State Recreational Trail Advisory Boards (SRTAB)
The NRTF Act requires that each State have a SRTAB, but the requirements are not very specific except to have at least one motorized and one nonmotorized trail user represented. An important function of the SRTAB is to define what diversified use means. Even in the District of Columbia motorized users need to be included on the SRTAB even though there is no OHV use in DC. Another function is to ensure that the 30-30-40 allocation formula is met. States will have no excuse this year for not being able to meet it.
Some States don't like the idea of the SRTAB providing guidance on grant programs. The SRTAB's role is to work with States to decide how to make grants, but they don't necessarily have to actually choose the projects. You can still accept or reject their recommendations, but you do have to work with them. While the SRTABs are advisory boards according to the law, States can choose to give more authority to them.
FHWA gets inquiries from lobbyists and others who want specific project information. You have to supply enough information to FHWA so they can get it into their information system. Information is needed on the kind of project, how much money it received, miles of trail, kinds of facilities, sponsors, etc. Some States have not provided very complete information. FHWA would like to discuss these information needs so we can all agree what is important to the public and what States can provide without making it burdensome.
State Trails Program Discussions
Representatives of the various States present discussed how they are implementing and using their State Trail Advisory Boards, how they are managing and implementing their 1996 funds, and other initiatives underway.
- Arizona: Currently analyzing the alternatives for the 1996 money. Their administration is concerned about starting a new program, so they are looking at using their existing grants programs for both motorized and nonmotorized trails.
- North Carolina: Set up an allocation to give the 40% designated for motorized projects to USFS. They appointed the first OHV person to their SRTAB, and included a canoeist and local government person.
- New Jersey: Has $300,000 in State funds this year, and will make 600 State and local agencies eligible. The SRTAB will help with allocations based on State trails plan for priorities on the State trails system--a benefit of being included in the State plan. Will work with State Land Trust to do a trails project.
- Tennessee: Most of the funding will be in greenway development and acquisition. The SRTAB has just begun meeting.
- Idaho: State reauthorized SRTAB as an ad hoc committee using the national model. Grant applications have been sent with a June 1 deadline. Will use State OHV fuel tax program to match motorized projects.
- South Dakota: State is getting certification together. In 1993 State funded a variety of State and Federal lands projects. Haven't finalized 1996 program but it will be similar; will publicize and provide information to local governments and trails groups.
- Wyoming: Past emphasis has been on snowmobiles and historic trails, but has a new State trails coordinator (Kim Raap), and some new priorities. Started certification; there is a lot of interest in the new State trails committee, and State sponsored Wyoming's first-ever statewide trails conference.
- Georgia: SRTAB is reviewing the program proposal now. Want to announce grants on National Trails Day.
- Delaware: It's a small State but has a 19-member State Trails and Greenways Council established last year. Will advise on use of funds. Received $6 million from trust funds to total $10 million; the program generates $700,000 per year. State will keep NRTF funds for their own projects since they aren't eligible for the trust fund money. Also has a Delaware Conservation Corps which will be involved in some of these trail projects.
- Maryland: Pat Oliva (representative from American Endurance Horse Council) wants to get people to discuss and plan trails to solve problems ahead of time.
- California: In 1993 all of the money went to local governments. State Parks will try for some of it this time. SRTAB includes representatives from a variety of governments along with members from OHV Committee and State Trails Committee. Interested in hosting Year 2000 National Trails Symposium.
- California: Paul Slavik (American Honda) extended invitation to all State administrators on the 25th anniversary of the California "green sticker" OHV registration program. NOHVCC will also be sending their partners. He believes that the intent of NRTF was to encourage other States to provide funds from fuel tax for trails like California.
- Massachusetts: The State gave out grants to smaller municipalities and volunteer groups; there is not much Federal land. 50% match will be a challenge--there are no dedicated State funds for trails.
- West Virginia: John English (consultant) described the huge support for the Hatfield-McCoy trail in West Virginia. State and many partners are looking for $3 million to finish development of the project.
- Missouri: Their SRTAB represents all major uses, and is composed of trail users only. State is willing to open up the trails program to anybody interested. They had a good response in 1993, plenty of applications. Using NRTF as an opportunity to try to establish a bigger trails program through State legislature.
- Alaska: In 1993, sent out over 1,000 applications and received over 100 requests. Provides grants to non-profits and local governments. Creating a State trails coordinator position, and just hired a new person: Carmen Denny. Got 30 responses from States on continuing funding for trails. Implementing TRACK program: Trails and Recreation for Alaska. Citizen advisory board has 13 members, OHV and nonmotorized, to oversee trails program. It is a cooperative program among four State agencies: Fish and Game, Parks, Tourism, and DOT. Their goal is to roll together all the sources of funding that deal with trails to get them to mesh better together.
- Maine: State had a successful program in 1993. will be able to add license plate funding to the program.
- Colorado: State Parks uses one application form for trail grants regardless of type of use. Several sources of funds (lottery and OHV registration) are included in the grants program with NRTF funds. Around 100 applications for funding are received each year. SRTAB has 50% of the vote on evaluating and selecting projects for funding.
- Michigan: State has several funding sources, several components to the State trails program. If NRTF is reauthorized, it will establish a grants program that everyone can participate in. Has a proposal on allocation for reauthorization: States that do a better job of providing trail opportunities should get more of the funds, especially motorized. Concerned that there is no credit given for trail mileage. Since some States have few or no OHV trails, their residents go to another State to use and impact their trails.
- Indiana: Trails 2000 statewide trails plan has been approved by their State Trails Committee. It is a good thing NRTF passed because it vindicated having OHV members on the SRTAB. State DNR doesn't allow any OHV use on any public lands in Indiana (many of them go to Michigan to use their trails). Used some of NRTF in 1993 for project planning. Now the State may end up with a grants program, but is concerned about the small amount of money and the cost of administration.
- Illinois: The State has an existing greenway and trails council. Will use NRTF funds in-house; other programs have more money for trails, like $7 million for bike paths, and a State companion program for LWCF. State will mainly address OHV issues to get users to come forth with proposals for at least some scramble areas on strip-mined areas.
- South Carolina: Jim Schmid recently moved back to South Carolina to take State trails coordinator job. NRTF is a good opportunity to start a new program and build the trails constituency. State set up a new statewide trails committee with 25 members, half users and half agencies, to figure out the trail needs. Brought in new people like canoeists and outdoor retailers. Has time budgeted to do a State trails plan.
- Jim Williams: (National OHV Conservation Council) Will continue to run OHV training programs to teach people how to ride and manage ATVs and trail motorcycles; bring vehicles and do whole program. Working on plans for next series of workshops. They try to associate the program with existing user groups. Alabama, Oregon, and New York will be next sites.
Reauthorization of NRTFA in ISTEA
Keith Gilges of the National Recreation and Park Association (703-578-5446) represented the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) and welcomed the opportunity for trails folks at the Symposium to help identify issues for reauthorization. CRT, which meets monthly, was formed to support funding for NRTF. CRT is comprised of 25 very diverse national organizations. Its goal is to help bring diverse trail interests together, similar to the State trail advisory boards. CRT works with NRTAC in a variety of ways, and tries to support its recommendations as grass-roots trails supporters. John Fegan noted that FHWA may either reappoint the previous NRTAC members, or have to ask for nominations and appoint new members. They are waiting for a decision.
Keith Gilges then discussed the vision statement of CRT and their strategies for reauthorization of ISTEA to be sure NRTF is included, and that productive changes to the Trails Program are included. The 1995 NHS Act included language to reauthorize NRTF. CRT has not laid out a strategy, but is working to try to get key legislators on their side to find sponsors. CRT lobbyists went to the congressional authorizers since appropriators weren't supportive, and that has been successful. CRT will coordinate with efforts of ISTEA proponents, as with "Show Congress your Trail".
- People working with Senator Kempthorne had a lot to do with getting funding. But a lot of efforts by many various people made a difference. CRT is trying to keep everybody working together.
- The model is the Wallop-Breaux program with over $300,000,000. Trails Program supporters should be able to make the case for a higher level of funding than the $30 million authorized.
- There is a need to work with AASHTO: in transportation policy the concept is user pays--user benefits. In this case, users are not even getting what they pay.
- CRT has discussed allowing some flexibility to permit averaging over several years of the 30-30-40 formula rather than exact match each year. One concern: will a State's program that is out of balance end up at 5th year having to make up a big deficit in one area?
- We all need to promote recreation in a broad way--not just trails, but get the interests involved that need to know about NRTF and how it can benefit them and local communities.
- Trail administrators need to build the case for NRTF to the agency head. NRPA's "Recre-Action" network is available to match advocates with specific legislators and bills (see Keith Gilges).
- Alicia Soriano of Georgia suggested using your State trails newsletter to publicize NRTF.
- John English suggested that FHWA do a study of economic as well as health and social benefits. NRPA has a catalog of similar info, including one from Canadian Park and Recreation Association. Charlie Willard has a draft of reviews of studies of Crime and Property values.