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Recreational Trails Program Guidance

FHWA issued the original RTP guidance April 1, 1999, and posted a revision in August 1999. Although issued as Interim Guidance, this is the only Recreational Trails Program Guidance issued. It is still in effect. FHWA updates this HTML version as necessary to incorporate later legislation and policies, along with the date for the revision.

See also:

Note: References to page numbers within the original document are replaced with internal text links to enhance navigability.



  1. Recreational Trails Program Purpose
  2. Recreational Trails Program Major Changes Under TEA-21
  3. Recreational Trails Program Guidance - Introduction and Background
  4. Administrative and Financial Procedures
  5. State Responsibilities
    • State Agency Designation
    • State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee
    • State Certification to Regain Eligibility
  6. Funding Apportionments
    • USDOT Administrative Costs
    • Apportionment to the States
    • Calculation of Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Use
    • Obligation Limitation
    • Obligation and Spending Deadlines
    • Uniform Transferability
  7. State Suballocations / Diverse, Motorized, and Nonmotorized Minimum Requirements
    • Requirement
    • Overlap / Category Definitions
    • Maintenance and Official Use
    • Waivers
    • Small State Exclusion
    • Advisory Committee Waiver Authority
    • State Administrative Costs
  8. Federal Share and Matching Share
    • General Federal / Matching Share
    • Federal Share under the Recreational Trails Program
    • Federal Agency Project Sponsor
    • Funds from Federal Programs
    • Programmatic Non-Federal Share
    • State Administrative Costs
    • Non-Federal Matching Share
    • Donations of Funds, Materials, Services, or New Right-of-Way
    • How to Treat Funds Allocated Prior to TEA-21
  9. Project Administration
    • Grant Management
    • Eligible Subgrantees
    • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (#20.219)
    • OMB Regulations
    • Allowable Costs
    • Audit Requirements
    • Public Employee Costs
    • Value of Private Donations
    • Payment
    • Advances and Working Capital Advances
    • Matching Provisions
    • User Fees
    • Real Property and Equipment
    • Procurement
    • Compliance
  10. Projects Completed Under Budget
  11. Minimum and Maximum Grant Amounts
  12. Grant Management Questions and Answers
  13. FHWA Approval
    • Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) Coding; FMIS Work Type Codes
    • FHWA Program Codes Memorandum
  14. Project Eligibility and Requirements
  15. Planning Requirements
    • Submittal to Transportation Agencies
    • Other Planning Considerations
    • Planning Costs
  16. Permissible Uses
    • Eligible Project Categories
    • State Administrative Costs
    • Statewide Trail Planning
    • Educational Projects
    • Other Eligibility Considerations / Possible Project Priorities
    • Accessibility
    • Eligibility to Use Other Federal Highway Funds
    • Environmental Benefit or Mitigation
    • Law Enforcement
    • Millennium Trails Program
    • Minimum Timeframe for Public Use
    • National Recreation Trails
    • Water Trails
    • Youth Conservation or Service Corps
  17. Uses Not Permitted (Projects Not Eligible)
    • Other Uses Not Permitted
    • Condemned Land as Matching Value
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Law Enforcement
    • Planning
    • Railroads
    • Roads
    • Sidewalks
    • Wilderness Areas
  18. Project Sponsors
    • Who May Sponsor a Project
    • Federal Agency Partnerships
    • Youth Conservation or Service Corps
  19. Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Signage Criteria
    • Design Guidance
    • Signage
    • Accessibility (Access for People with Disabilities)
    • Manuals and Guides for Trail Design Construction, Maintenance, and Signage
  20. Environmental Requirements
    • Program Environmental Requirements
    • General Environmental Requirements
    • Air Quality
    • Hazardous Wastes and Contaminated Properties
    • Historic and Archaeological Resources
    • Noxious Weeds
    • Threatened and Endangered Species
  21. Land Ownership
  22. Public Involvement
  23. Other Issues Related to the RTP
    • Other Requirements
    • Buy America
    • Convict Labor
    • Continuing Recreational Use (Land and Water Conservation Fund)
    • Construction Engineering, Planning, and Environmental Costs
    • Planning Costs
    • Environmental Evaluation and Documentation Costs
    • Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)
    • Prevailing Wage Rate Requirements (Davis-Bacon Act)
    • Procurement of Federal-aid Construction Projects
    • Recreational Purpose (Section 4(f))
    • Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970
  24. Tips for Project Sponsors
  25. Definitions
  26. Abbreviations and Acronyms
  27. Recreational Trails Program Legislation Appendix (exit)
  28. Recreational Trails Program State Trail Administrators Appendix (exit)
  29. State contacts, addresses, phone, fax, email, web pages. (exit)
  30. Tables of Allocations and Apportionments Appendix (exit)
    • Recreational Trails Program Allocations and Apportionments Summary FY 1993-2000
Updated: 6/5/2015
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