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2001 State Trail Administrators Meeting

Notes from State Trail Administrators Meeting
27-28 September 2001

Held at the 3rd International Conference on Trails & Greenways, St. Louis, MO

Federal Highway Administration: Christopher Douwes

GUESTS
Greg Esser, City of Phoenix Arts Commission

Action Items

Introduction

Stuart Macdonald, Colorado State Parks, welcomed the State Trail Administrators. See Appendix A for the Agenda.

National Trails Training Partnership/Universal Trail Assessment Process

Stuart Macdonald gave an update on the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP), a group of Federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups working together to improve trail training information and opportunities. NTTP information is kept up to date at www.nttp.net. The NTTP partners want to work closely with the States to promote and provide trail training opportunities across the country.

One key focus of NTTP training is to promote accessibility for all. The Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) is a highly effective method to assess trails both for accessibility and to develop maintenance and reconstruction plans. FHWA is making UTAP training available through a cooperative agreement with American Trails. American Trails will coordinate UTAP training for up to 25 State Trail Administrators, staff, or other State trail workers per year without charge. Contact American Trails for more information.

Other training is available for/from:

The Administrators discussed training they would like to see made available:

Motorized Trails and the RTP

Dick Westfall, Illinois DNR, asked several States to provide their perspective on how States were using Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds for motorized trails. He noted one primary difference between western States and eastern States. Most western States have a lot of Federal land, and more OHV opportunities. Most eastern States have very little Federal land, and fewer opportunities for OHV use.

Illinois - Dick Westfall, Illinois DNR
Dick reported that Illinois mixes and/or matches RTP funds with State OHV program funds. Illinois allows private OHV clubs to get funding, up to 100 percent. The groups must provide assurances, such as property guarantees. Most private groups charge a fee to use the property. Illinois is taking this approach to get legal riding areas open, because the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Illinois DNR are not providing areas. Clubs are buying land fee simple, often strip mine land, old quarries, etc. The idea is to keep the land open for recreational use in perpetuity. There is some concern about mine spoils. There is also a need for OHV park design guidelines, especially to make sure riding areas don't harm the environment.

The biggest costs for motorized trails are land and facilities such as staging areas, maintenance equipment, etc. Actual trail construction may be less costly than the land acquisition and support facilities. The idea is develop an OHV "play area".

Celeste Tracy, New Jersey, asked: How does the [State Recreational Trail] Advisory Committee get involved? Dick responded the committee supports spending RTP funds, but hasn't selected specific project sites. Dick noted that in Illinois, two-thirds of the people live in the northeastern corner of the State (Chicagoland), but most riding opportunities are in the southern part.

Jim Schmid, South Carolina, asked: Who manages the areas? Dick responded that clubs manage the areas. One area already was an operating riding area. New clubs are forming. Jim Schmid said managed trails are more desirable than free-for-all areas. A managing presence would help Forest Service motorized areas. They could use concessionaires to help manage the riding areas.

Wyoming - Kim Raap
Kim Raap said Wyoming has a large land area with a small population. Half of the State is Federal lands. He said 75 percent of the snowmobile riders are nonresidents (important for tourism). The State relies a lot on volunteer work. While 98 percent of the trails are on Federal lands, many communities are opening greenways to connect with other trails (especially using Transportation Enhancement funds). The base of the Wyoming trails program is the snowmobile trail system. Nonmotorized trails are getting funding through both TE and RTP. Motorized trail funding is coming through the State; the RTP is useful for start-up money.

In the past, ATV trails haven't been managed. Some ATVs can be licensed and used on roads as if they are motorcycles. The RTP is the driving force for the Wyoming trails program. Wyoming is using 30 percent for motorized, and 40 percent for projects which benefit both motorized and nonmotorized.

Kim did a survey among 27 snowbelt States regarding using RTP funds for snowmobile projects. Some States are doing a good job using RTP funds, but some are not. Some States have more restrictions than required by the Federal guidelines. States need to take the lead to promote motorized projects. Wyoming took a proactive approach to step in and get RTP projects funded. Kim reminded the administrators: the funding comes from motorized use - we need to make sure the motorized projects get funding.

Wyoming has a nonresident snowmobile registration fee. Wyoming also has an educational program for hunters using ATVs.

New Jersey - Celeste Tracy
Celeste Tracy, New Jersey DEP, described how New Jersey is working to provide legal OHV riding places. New Jersey's population is concentrated in a belt from the Philadelphia area to the New York City area. Its few OHV trails are in the southeastern part of the State.

New Jersey has very little public land. The only Federal lands are National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service (where motorized use is not appropriate), or military bases (which are not open to public recreation). In a few cases, OHV clubs may obtain special 1-day permits to use State forest lands. On State Parks and Forest land, motorcycles must be dual sport, meaning they must also be legal for on-road use. New Jersey only has one OHV park. While New Jersey doesn't have a lot of land, it has a lot of requests for places to ride. People want to ride in legal riding areas. The State RTP committee supports finding places to ride to take pressure off the desires of motorized users to use nonmotorized trails.

New Jersey provided funding to two nonprofit organizations: the Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League (PAL), and an OHV club working with a private property owner.

The Egg Harbor Township PAL worked with volunteers to develop an OHV riding place in an old sand and gravel pit next to the Atlantic City Expressway, which had become an illegal dumping ground. Egg Harbor Township obtained the land through a land swap. The PAL received help from the township and businesses to build trails, purchase trail equipment, develop an educational and training center (using $55,000 in RTP funds to build a facility worth more than $200,000). The PAL also used RTP funds to obtain additional land; the PAL must develop a management plan and do an environmental assessment before developing trails.

On another property, an OHV club is working with a private property owner to manage OHV use and to protect endangered species. Volunteers are doing the work. The cooperation and management would not have taken place without the RTP funds.

Other States/Other Ideas
Missouri provides two areas for motorized vehicles on State Park land at St Joe State Park and Finger Lake State Park. These parks also provide camping and day use opportunities. Missouri also has two ATV riding areas on US Forest Service land at Chadwick and Sutton Bluff. Iowa and Indiana also used RTP funds to develop special OHV riding areas. Some administrators noted the trails community needs to keep RTP reauthorization in mind. Motorized use is paying for the RTP.

One person said the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) needs to address motorized trail use. In most States, the nonmotorized user is a higher percentage than the motorized use, but the motorized use still must be addressed.

Vanyla Tierney said there is a great need for motorized projects, but motorized groups usually are less proficient at applying for funds. Many townships, boroughs, cities, and counties have grant writers who know how to write grant applications for nonmotorized projects, but the motorized groups often need to develop their own applications. Some administrators said States need to be more willing to assist motorized groups to develop good project applications. Vanyla also commented on the need to develop motorized trails and areas in an environmentally responsible manner, following all applicable environmental laws and regulations.

Art and Millennium Trails

Alexandra Weiss, Florida DEP, gave a background and handouts describing art projects on trails. The National Endowment for the Arts is providing grants for art on trails.

Greg Esser, City of Phoenix Arts Commission, presented what the Commission is doing to develop a relationship with the State and City highway departments. The Public Art Program provides opportunities for artists to create artworks to enhance public spaces, and to work with architects, engineers, landscape architects, and city planners to design and build neighborhood parks, community centers, bridges, plazas, streets, recycling centers, and other important civic amenities.

In 1986, Phoenix adopted a Percent for Art Ordinance, which allocates up to 1 percent of the city's Capital Improvement Program for public art projects. In 1988, a public art master plan was created, which divided the city into a series of "urban design systems" and public art "working zones". The public art program has become internationally recognized for its unique and innovative use of artists on design teams for large projects such as civic buildings, freeways, and bridges. Artists also have been commissioned to create site-specific neighborhood landmarks, sculptures, video artworks, and murals. Commission staff coordinate projects with artists, city departments, neighborhood organizations, architects, and engineers. The commission maintains a national juried registry of about 100 public artists. It updates the registry every two years. Artists are selected for public art commissions through the slide registry or through an open competition process. Approximately 80 public art projects have been completed since 1986.

Some art is eligible for funding under the Transportation Enhancement program. Greg showed examples of incorporating art in transportation infrastructure in intersections, medians, and bridges (especially pedestrian bridges), overpasses, and underpasses. The Arts Commission pays for costs above what the project would have cost anyway. In some cases, there is little or no additional cost. Phoenix relies on a lot of community involvement to develop its projects. For more information, go to www.phoenix.gov/arts, or call 602-495-0197.

Alex noted that community involvement is a factor in ranking projects. The State arts agency needs to approach the State DOT to show how art can benefit transportation and trails.

Motorized Trails Discussion

The National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) is developing an OHV Park Guide with support from the American Motorcyclist Association, Motorcycle Industry Council, and FHWA. The idea is to manage OHV use in particular areas. One problem is getting zoning permits for OHV parks.

Dick Westfall said that in Illinois, Land and Water Conservation Fund and State grant programs require public hearings if the sponsor is a public agency. But grants to clubs might mean less opportunity for public comment. Local zoning rules often determine whether or not there is a public hearing. Alex Weiss said that in Florida, all groups need to do public coordination. Stuart Macdonald said all projects in Colorado are listed for public review and comment. Kathy Pritchett said that Kansas advisory committee meetings are open to the public for comment.

NEPA Discussion

Administrators discussed requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA process must take place whenever a State uses Federal funds. The activity determines what process to use: a categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, or full environmental impact statement.

Florida developed a process to help project sponsors with the environmental process. Wyoming developed a 1-page checklist. Jim Schmid, South Carolina, said the State requires land manager sign off (to keep groups from proposing projects on somebody else's land). Public agencies must sign off that they are following their own environmental processes. The State resource agencies and the State DOTs should coordinate their NEPA processes.

There is concern about how FHWA division offices interpret how to do the NEPA process. Some division offices are requiring more NEPA work than others. However, there are individual concerns in individual States. Sometimes, a vocal opposition group can cause a State to go through a more involved environmental process.

Eligibility Questions

Mike Gallagher, Maine, asked how many States allowed equipment purchases. Most do. However, the State needs to account for equipment purchases. Federal regulations are in 49 CFR 18.32. Peter Brandenburg, Massachusetts, said many nonprofit clubs are purchasing equipment. It is eligible, but the State needs to manage the purchases through agreements. Some States rank equipment purchases as high priority, while others rank them low. It depends on State needs.

Research Needs

FHWA is working with the US Forest Service to improve technology and development for trail construction and maintenance, and to provide USFS trail documents to the public. FHWA sent several publications to the Administrators over the past year. They are available through FHWA's Report Center. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/ for a list of documents.

State administrators generally agreed there are some trail research needs. FHWA will pass these needs on to the Forest Service. Priorities include:

There were several suggestions to improve information sharing on OHV use:

Reports

Multiple Use Trails Discussion (Key Points)

General

The definition of "multiple use" is not clear. In most places it depends on what is compatible in each area or trail system. User conflicts often fix themselves in some areas over time. Each area needs to decide what is best at present; there is no National solution.

Equestrian Use
Equestrians are vocal in some areas, but they are often a small group. There is a growing use of horse-drawn carriages in some areas, and a need to accommodate them. New Jersey is providing trails for carriages in an equestrian park. One trail has to provide keys to gates at road crossings because carriages are too wide to get through openings intended to keep out motor vehicles.

Rail-trails are a problem for some equestrians. Often, equestrians have been using a rail-trail, but then the trail manager paves it, which is not good for horses. Often, the paved trail takes the dry, level railbed area, and the equestrians must use ditches or other areas off the railbed.

Some States prohibit equestrian use if they use transportation funds on a trail. This often adds to conflicts between equestrians and bicyclists. Christopher Douwes reminded the administrators there is no Federal legislation or regulation which requires States to prohibit equestrian use from shared use paths or any other trail just because a State uses transportation funds. There is also no Federal legislation or regulation which requires a State to pave a trail. A trail for transportation purposes must meet accessibility standards, and therefore have a firm and stable surface, but there are unpaved surfaces which are firm and stable.

Multiple Use
There is a trend toward individual user groups wanting trails specific for their use. Some mountain bike groups are sponsoring projects to develop and maintain their own trails. There also was discussion of urban vs backcountry, snow shoes vs skiing, etc.

Reauthorization Issues

Christopher Douwes led a discussion about preparing for reauthorization of the Federal surface transportation program that will take place in 2003. The Administrators discussed the future of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and issues they would like to address in reauthorization. See Recreational Trails Program Reauthorization Issues in the Appendix.

In general, after some discussion, administrators opposed making major changes in the structure of the RTP. There was concern that a spotlight on the RTP might backfire and hurt the program. The administrators agreed they would like increased funding to represent the amount of revenue received by the Federal Highway Trust Fund which is attributable to nonhighway recreational fuel use. They agreed some minor changes were needed to clarify project eligibility and to improve program efficiency. The Administrators agreed to establish a committee to come up with a position statement.

The RTP is fundamentally different from other FHWA funding programs. It belongs under the USDOT/FHWA because of the link with the Federal Highway Trust Fund and FHWA's ability to work with the States. But the RTP needs to maintain its own identity.

Some States suggested combining the TE Program and the RTP, and administering them through the State resource agency. Some States believe their resource agencies are better equipped to administer the TE program than their DOTs. However, TE projects must have transportation link, whereas RTP projects are intended for recreation. Also, some TE categories are outside the jurisdiction of resource agencies, such as highway landscaping, historic preservation, removing outdoor advertising, wetland mitigation due to highway runoff, transportation museums, etc.

Obligation Limitation
The RTP legislation requires the Governor to designate the State agency which will administer the RTP. Most Governors designated a State resource agency. However, FHWA apportions obligation limitation to the State DOT. Then, the DOT must pass funds through to the State resource agency. Some DOTs pass through 100 percent of the RTP funds, but many DOTs limit the amount of RTP funds to the annual obligation limitation. Administrators wanted to know why and what could be done to resolve this problem. Some States would like the RTP funds to be apportioned directly to the State agency designated by the Governor. See Appendix B for a summary of this discussion. The result of the discussion was that Administrators decided not to pursue changes.

Apportionment Formula
The current RTP apportionment formula is 50 percent apportioned equally to all States (including the District of Columbia, but excluding the Territories), and 50 percent apportioned in proportion to an estimate of nonhighway recreational fuel use in each State. Should this formula change? Among possibilities:

  1. Use land area as a factor. Using land area in a formula results in a huge share for Alaska out of proportion with nonhighway recreational fuel use. The current FHWA fuel model uses rural land area factor to weight the fuel use, but it is a partial weight factor, not a sole factor.
  2. Use population as a factor. This would shift funds to urban States and would reduce the link to fuel use. Another possibility is to use rural population, but this doesn't account for dense rural populations in eastern States and heavily urban western States with wide expanses of nearly empty land in between.
  3. Use Federal land area as a factor, since a lot of OHV use takes place on Federal lands. This factor fails to account for growing use (and efforts to increase opportunities) in eastern States on non-Federal land. Also, most snowmobile use in eastern States takes place on private land.
  4. Add a factor to reward States which use motorized funds. For example, change the formula to one third equally, one-third in proportion to nonhighway recreational fuel use, and one-third in proportion to how much the State obligates for motorized projects. This would strengthen the relationship with a user pay / user benefit basis. This would shift funds away from States which have not been using funds for motorized projects and benefit States which have been obligating funds for motorized projects.

Several administrators noted that States which do not support motorized projects are failing to recognize the source of the RTP funding. States should be more proactive and more flexible to allow motorized projects to receive funding.

30 percent Minimum Share/Committee Waiver Provision
The RTP requires States to provide at least 30 percent of their funds for motorized use, at least 30 percent for nonmotorized use, and at least 40 percent for diverse use (which may be diverse motorized, diverse nonmotorized, or diverse combination of motorized and nonmotorized). The RTP allows State Recreational Trail Advisory Committees to waive the 30 percent requirements if the committees determine there are not sufficient projects to meet these requirements.

The State committee may not waive the 40 percent diverse trail use requirement. No State has recorded any difficulty in meeting the diverse trail use requirement.

There was some discussion whether or not there should be any minimum requirement. In general, administrators agreed the minimum requirements provide a system of checks and balances.

Only Idaho has ever waived the 30% provision for nonmotorized use (FY 1996, Idaho used 26% for strictly nonmotorized, 44% diverse motorized and nonmotorized, and 30% motorized). However, several States routinely waive the 30% motorized requirement each year. Some States have rules that place an excessive burden on motorized projects. This means that, while motorized users pay for the program, they are not receiving any benefit.

Some administrators suggested eliminating the waiver provision. States already may carry over funds until they are used, which gives States time to develop motorized projects. One suggestion was if a State can't meet the minimum requirement, the funds should be returned. There was no consensus from this discussion.

Many (most) States use the diverse category for strictly diverse nonmotorized use. One suggestion was to require that the 40 percent diverse category include both motorized and nonmotorized use. There was no consensus on this suggestion; many States would not be able to meet the diverse trail use requirement if they were required to include motorized use.

Matching Requirements
The RTP legislation generally sets the Federal share at 80 percent. Some States set, or want to set, the Federal share at 50 percent. This is permitted; the Federal share is a maximum, not a minimum. One administrator asked if the State could set nonmotorized projects at 50 percent and motorized projects at 80 percent; this could be a way to spread out the nonmotorized funds and be an incentive for the motorized users. Christopher Douwes said this is allowable. Some administrators said their project selection processes give more points for higher matching shares.

Accessibility Requirements

The State trail administrators had a joint session with the State DOT transportation enhancement coordinators. Stuart Macdonald and Christopher Douwes provided an update on the proposed accessibility guidelines for trails.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is civil rights legislation which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) convened the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas in 1997 through 1999. This committee issued its report on proposed guidelines for trails, outdoor recreation access routes, beach access routes, and picnic and camping facilities in September 1999, see www.access-board.gov/outdoor/outdoor-rec-rpt.htm. The Access Board is undertaking an economic impact study before issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking. The Access Board also convened the Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee in 1999, to recommend accessibility guidelines for sidewalks, intersections, and street crossings. This committee issued a report Building a True Community in January 2001; it is available at www.access-board.gov/prowac/commrept/index.htm. {New draft Guidelines are available as of November 23, 2005 at: www.access-board.gov/prowac/draft.htm]

All trail projects must consider accessibility requirements. However, it is recognized that it is not possible to make all trails accessible. Trails used for transportation and trails which involve significant construction have a greater need to meet accessibility requirements. This includes nearly all trails built with TE funds. Rail-trails usually have low grades; people who have disabilities often prefer them. Trail access points need special attention to promote accessibility. Trailside and trailhead facilities need to be accessible, even if the trail itself is not accessible. For example, a person with a disability may use a horse or ATV to access a backcountry area, but still needs to be able to use an outhouse in the backcountry.

The key factors to providing accessible trails are:

There are situations where exceptions must be made because of impacts on cultural, historic, or religious resources; prevailing terrain and significant natural features; or prevailing construction practices (a prohibition on using mechanized equipment in Wilderness areas, or maintaining trails using unskilled volunteer labor). Each exception must take place on a case by case basis.

There are many resources available on accessible trails. American Trails has information available at www.americantrails.org/resources/accessible/index.html.

FHWA completed Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide, which explains how to develop sidewalks, street crossings, and trails to promote accessibility. The FHWA Administrator will sign a memorandum in November 2001 to distribute this publication as official FHWA design guidance. FHWA will send it directly to all State trail administrators and TE coordinators. Part 1, Review of Existing Guidelines and Practices, published in July 1999, is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalks/. Part 2 will be available electronically at a later date. FHWA will put both publications on CD as well.

National Recreation Trails Program - Rory Robinson, National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) recently revitalized its National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program, a program which recognizes trails under the National Trails System Act. Note: there is no direct relationship between the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program.

Rory Robinson, of the NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, provided several handouts, including the NRT brochure, application, and update form. He encouraged administrators to generate an NRT application for each State. New NRTs will be announced at the next National Trails Symposium in November 2002. The goal is to have at least one per State. National Trails System information is on the NPS website at www.nps.gov/nts/ and the American Trails website at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/.

Reauthorization Issues Continued

Transportation Planning Requirements
Most States administer the RTP through State resource agencies, but RTP projects must be listed on State DOT and Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Improvement Programs. The administrators generally agreed this is a bureaucratic requirement which doesn't add value to the RTP. Christopher Douwes explained there is possibly some benefit from coordination with DOTs and MPOs to make sure highway projects and trail projects don't conflict with each other, and it is also part of the public involvement process.

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
The RTP legislation requires States to use RTP funds on trails which are identified in or further a specific goal of a recreational trail plan or a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) that is in effect. SCORPs generally are 5 year plans. Many State SCORPs are nearing the end of their cycles. SCORPs are not trail corridor specific plans. There are potential conflicts between SCORP plans and RTP projects. States must address these conflicts.

State Administrative Costs
The RTP legislation limits State administrative costs to 7 percent of a State's apportionment. Most States use the full 7 percent, a few States use only a portion or none. A few States believe the 7 percent is not quite enough to cover their costs. However, administrators understood why there is a cap: to keep funds going to on-the-ground trail projects and to keep administrative costs under control. The general consensus was to keep the 7 percent cap.

Education Costs
The RTP legislation limits education costs to 5 percent of a State's apportionment. Only about half the States are funding education projects. There have been many questions on eligibility under the education category. FHWA needs to clarify its guidance. One possibility is to broaden the trail project category to allow education projects (meaning no cap on the education costs). General consensus was:

Eligible Activities for Trail Projects
The administrators discussed whether or not several categories should or should not be added as eligible activities for trail project funding under the RTP. In general, the administrators opposed opening new categories for funding. In particular, there was a concern that some categories might become considered ongoing entitlements. The RTP should not be used for recurring expenses.

Planning Studies, Feasibility Studies, Mapping
Many States have asked whether or not trail planning studies, feasibility studies, and mapping are, or should be, eligible under the RTP. There were a lot of varying opinions, and little consensus on what the administrators support. FHWA needs to clarify the extent to which preliminary design and engineering (plans, specifications, etc.) by consulting firms may be eligible for RTP funds.

The administrators agreed the primary purpose of the RTP is to promote trail construction and maintenance. Some administrators said the trail planning should take place prior to submitting a project application as part of the community's local commitment. Others said funding a trail plan might be a good investment even if the result is to determine the trail should not go forward. Others noted that the Land and Water Conservation Fund can be used for trail planning activities.

A majority agreed mapping should be eligible as part of necessary trail planning to the extent trail planning is eligible. Trail maps are eligible as administrative funds, and are eligible for education funds to the extent they provide a trail safety and/or environmental education message. Some administrators supported allowing trail maps to be eligible with trail project funds.

Administrators recommended one new eligible category: A State may allow preagreement costs for projects eligible under §206(c)(2)(A) through (E) for the costs of mapping, planning, and engineering for up to 15 percent of total project costs, limited to costs incurred within one year prior to project approval.

Administrators decided to form a committee to come up with a mapping / planning / feasibility study recommendation consisting of Kim Kruse, Alaska; Phil Wells, Michigan; Alex Weiss, Florida; and John Knudson, Utah.

National Trails System Trails
The RTP Guidance encourages States to give extra project evaluation credit to trails which are part of the National Trails System: National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails, and National Recreation Trails. However, the RTP is not intended to be a funding program specifically for National Trails System trails.

Some advocates for National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails, and Millennium Trails suggested having a Federal-aid funding category specifically for these kinds of trails. State administrators strongly opposed a separate funding category for these trails because:

Many National Scenic Trails already compete well for RTP funds. Many National Historic Trails compete well for transportation enhancement funds.

Sidewalk Trails
Some States get a lot of applications for trails along roads which will function as sidewalks. The RTP guidance (page 44) addresses this issue. It is possible a sidewalk is needed to provide a missing link between trail segments. The guidance allows State Recreational Trail Advisory Committees to develop State policy. In general, sidewalks should receive funding from transportation sources. Before funding a sidewalk trail, the State should determine if the sidewalk trail is a recreation or transportation facility, and which agency will maintain it (park department or street department). Idaho's evaluation criteria gives more points to trails that do not function as sidewalks.

Some administrators noted that designating a sidewalk within a highway right-of-way as a recreational trail may result in problems for a transportation department in the future. If the State wants to widen the highway, it will have to perform a Section 4(f) evaluation and mitigation.

Further Reauthorization Ideas
Dick Westfall, Illinois, will coordinate the development of a State trail administrator position statement for RTP reauthorization. Administrators may not lobby. They may provide RTP information to their State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee members, nonprofit organizations, and their State agencies. They may also highlight program accomplishments.

The State trail administrators want continued support and funding for the RTP. They want to avoid making the RTP a "lightning rod" open for attack. A primary point to remember is that the RTP is a user pay/user benefit program - the funds come from the Federal excise tax attributable to nonhighway recreational fuel use.

Closing

There will be a National OHV Program Managers meeting in conjunction with the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council conference on 11-14 April 2002, in Gretna LA (near New Orleans) for State and Federal OHV program managers. Bob Walker, Montana, is coordinating this meeting (bwalker@state.mt.us, 406-444-4585). See the NOHVCC website for more information: www.nohvcc.org.

The next full State Trail Administrators meeting will be 12-13 November 2002, prior to the 16th National Trails Symposium, 13-17 November 2002, at the Grenelefe Resort, Haines City FL. Stuart Macdonald, Colorado and Jim Schmid, FHWA will coordinate this meeting. See the American Trails website for more information: www.americantrails.org.


APPENDIX A
State Trail Administrators Meeting

September 25-26, 2001 - Hyatt Regency at Union Station, St Louis MO
Organized by the National Association of State Trail Administrators
and the Federal Highway Administration

AGENDA

Tuesday, September 25

1:00-1:30

Introductions, Overview of agenda/meeting
Stuart Macdonald, Colorado; Christopher Douwes, FHWA

1:30-2:15

National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP),
Stuart Macdonald, NTTP representative

2:15-2:45

Motorized trails, perspectives from Eastern States and Western States
Dick Westfall, Illinois

3:00-3:15

Break

3:15-3:45

Art & Millennium Trails
Alexandra Weiss, Florida; Greg Esser, City of Phoenix

3:45-5:00

Recreational Trails Program issues: rural vs. urban projects, State advisory
committees, States changing splits, ROW acquisition, etc.

Wednesday, September 26

8:30-9:15

Trails Research and Technology Development, priorities
Christopher Douwes, FHWA

9:15-10:00

Multiple-use trails, e.g, States share experiences

10:00-10:20

Break

10:20-12:00

RTP Reauthorization (see attachment)

  • Should NASTA recommend changes in the RTP?
  • How can NASTA help build support?

12:00-12:15

Break for lunch

12:15-1:30

Lunch with Transportation Enhancement Coordinators
Intent: Trail administrators, TE Coordinators, and FHWA staff from the same States meet and eat together; meet neighbouring States. Presentation: Americans with Disabilities Act requirements: How they affect recreational trails funded by Transportation Enhancements and the Recreational Trails Program. Stuart Macdonald, NASTA; Christopher Douwes, FHWA.

1:30-2:00

National Recreation Trails, Rory Robinson, National Park Service

2:00-3:00

Related Reauthorization Issues: other legislation affecting trails.
See attachment.

3:00-3:15

Break

3:15-3:45

Funding, successes & failures, combining State & RTP funding, etc.

3:45-4:15

Other issues raised during the meeting

4:15-5:00

NASTA organization, next meetings, etc.
Stuart Macdonald

  • OHV Program Managers Meeting, 11 April 2002, New Orleans. Prior to the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council conference (April 11-14).
  • State Trail Administrators meeting, 12-13 November 2002, prior to the 16th National Trails Symposium, 13-17 November 2002, at the Grenelefe Resort, Haines City FL.

Recreational Trails Program Reauthorization Issues
(Meeting Handout)

Options

Issues

Should the list of eligible items include:

Other Reauthorization Issues - Other Federal Surface Transportation Issues

Are there related reauthorization issues:


APPENDIX B
Obligation Limitation Discussion

The RTP legislation requires the Governor to designate the State agency which will administer the RTP. Most Governors designated a State resource agency. However, under 23 U.S.C. 104(e), FHWA apportions funds to the State DOT. Then, the DOT must pass RTP funds through to the State resource agency. Some DOTs pass through 100 percent of the RTP funds, but many DOTs limit the amount of RTP funds to the annual obligation limitation. Administrators wanted to know why and what could be done to resolve this problem. Some States would like the RTP funds to be apportioned directly to the State agency designated by the Governor. There are positive and negative effects associated with making changes.

There is a difference between apportionments authorized in legislation and the annual obligation limitation provided to the States to permit projects to go forward. For full details, see Financing Federal-Aid Highways at www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/olsp/financingfederalaid/. Below is an explanation of how the difference between apportionments and obligation limitation affects the RTP.

FHWA apportions funds to the States through various funding categories (National Highway System, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, Surface Transportation Program, Bridge, Interstate Maintenance, Minimum Guarantee, Recreational Trails Program, etc.) on October 1 each year (at the beginning of the Federal fiscal year). The amount of apportionments authorized is established in law (at present, under TEA-21). However, the Congress establishes an obligation limitation each year, which limits the amount of funds that States may obligate each year. Over the past several years, the obligation limitation has been 85 percent to 90 percent of the apportionments. FHWA apportions the obligation limitation as one sum to the State DOT; each State DOT then determines how to use its limitation among the various funding categories. Some States concentrate their obligations on particular categories (perhaps obligating 100 percent of IM and NHS), but that means they must obligate other categories at lower rates.

Some States decided the RTP is such a small program, that they are willing to provide 100 percent of the obligation limitation to the State resource agency. Some State DOTs limit the RTP obligations to the same percentage as the annual obligation limitation. The problem for some State resource agencies is that it looks like their DOTs are limiting the availability of RTP funds. Some States would like RTP funds to be apportioned directly to the State agency designated by the Governor. This change may have both positive and negative possible effects:

Positive (from a State resource agency viewpoint)

Negative (from a State resource agency viewpoint)

The result of the discussion was that Administrators decided not to pursue changes.



Attendance
Alaska Bev Holt, Kim Kruse
California Ken McKowen, Bill Haas (FHWA)
Colorado Stuart Macdonald
Florida Alexandra Weiss, Suzanne Walker
Georgia Trudy Davis
Idaho Leo Hennessey
Illinois:DNR: Dick Westfall, Mark Yergler, Carl Fever. DOT: Todd Hill, Eric McGlennon
Kansas Kathy Pritchett
Maine Mike Gallagher
Massachusetts Peter Brandenburg
Michigan Phil Wells
Minnesota Tim Mitchell
Missouri Deb Schnack, Chris Buckland, Jessica Terrell
Nevada Shelley Leobold (representing Clark County)
New Jersey Celeste Tracy
North Carolina Darrell McBane
Ohio Bill Daehler
Oklahoma Susan Henry
Pennsylvania Vanyla Tierney
South Carolina Jim Schmid
South Dakota Scott Carbonneau
Utah John Knudson
West Virginia Bill Robinson
Wyoming Kim Raap
Updated: 02/12/2014
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