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SEC. 1109(f). RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM.
SEC. 1112. RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM.
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) is in effect as of August 10, 2005.
Here are the dollar figures for the Recreational Trails Program:
FY 2004: apparently is a "done deal" with the amounts previously apportioned.
FY 2005: $60 million. This is the current rate at which we have been doing the FY 2005 Advanced Apportionments: most States can expect approximately the same total as in FY 2004.
FY 2006: $70 million
FY 2007: $75 million
FY 2008: $80 million
FY 2009: $85 million
Here are some highlights of RTP amendments. These are in effect as of August 10, 2005, the date of enactment.
Sec 1109: Recreational Trails Program.
(a) FHWA Administrative funds: specifically allows "training". Deletes obsolete reference to the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee (which expired in 2000, and hasn't met since 1994). This means: FHWA has clear authority to support trail related training programs. FHWA Administrative funds will be $840,000 per year, not a 1.5% takedown.
(b)(2)(F) Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance. This means: You can fund a project to do Universal Trail Assessment Process or similar trail assessments as independent projects.
(b)(2)(G) now the Education section: Development and dissemination of publications and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection, (as those objectives relate to 1 or more of the use of recreational trails, supporting non-law enforcement trail safety and trail use monitoring patrol programs, and providing trail-related training), but in an amount not to exceed 5 percent of the apportionment made to the State for the fiscal year. This means: you can use education funds to:
Develop and distribute safety and environmental protection brochures and publications related to trail use (see www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/ed/team_green/pdf/activitybook.pdf for an example of a previously funded project).
Provide or support trail monitoring patrols to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails (but not provide support for law enforcement patrols).
Provide or support training to benefit safety and environmental protection related to trails. This includes training on trail planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operations, since those items can affect trail safety and trail-related environmental protection. However, this does not include training on organizational development (developing trail clubs), grant writing, or public health promotion.
(c) Eliminates the waiver from the 30% provisions. Beginning August 10, 2005 [date of enactment], all States must meet the 30% provisions, or else carry over the funds to a following year. Waivers enacted prior to August 10, 2005 remain in effect, but States may not enact retroactive waivers. Over time, this will eventually mean USE or LOSE. But States still retain flexibility to carry over funds (until they reach their obligation ceiling). This should allow States to generate a large enough amount to do something like purchase a large chunk of land for an OHV park.
(d)(1,2,3). Amends the allowable Federal share to be the same as a State's normal Federal-aid highway program Federal share (generally greater than 80% in western States, so this mostly benefits western States, and doesn't harm eastern States). States may continue to require a higher matching share if they wish.
(d)(4) Allows RTP funds to be used to match other Federal funding programs. As of August 10, 2005, a State may use RTP funds to match other Federal funding programs, including Transportation Enhancement funds.
(e) Allows preapproval planning and environmental compliance costs to be credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of a project, limited to costs incurred less than 18 months prior to project approval. This should help project sponsors get credit for developing their RTP projects (if your State chooses to allow this provision). States may use this provision beginning August 10, 2005 for new project obligations.
(f) Encourages States to use Youth Corps (but does not require). This is a repeat of the same provision from TEA-21.
NOT INCLUDED IN SAFETEA-LU: There are no project streamlining provisions as the Administration and the Senate proposed: RTP projects still must be included in the statewide and metropolitan transportation plans. Also, if an RTP project is within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, it must comply with highway contracting procedures.
STATE ASSUMPTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES
Sec 6003, State Assumption of Responsibilities for Certain Programs and Projects, allows up to five States to assume the responsibilities of the Secretary of Transportation for the Recreational Trails Program and for Transportation Enhancements for environmental reviews, consultation, and project and program decisionmaking. This would allow States to assume program control and authority to administer the RTP and/or TE, but the State also would assume full responsibility and liability, and accept the jurisdiction of Federal courts. This would require an application procedure, certifications, public notices, and input from Federal agencies and the public. If your State interested in participating in this program, please let me know. We want to figure out how much interest there might be in this program.
OTHER SAFETEA-LU PROVISIONS OF TRAIL-RELATED INTEREST
Sec 1113(c): TE remains 10% of STP, but with a minimum amount set at the FY 2005 level (STP's maximum size under SAFETEA-LU is in FY 2005).
Sec 1122: Transportation Enhancement Definitions are slightly revised, nothing major from the trail viewpoint.
Sec 1401: Highway Safety Improvement Program. New 23 U.S.C. 148(d)(1) includes trails as eligible.
Sec 1404: Adds a new Safe Routes to School Program. Trails are eligible.
Sec 1802: National Scenic Byways Program. Minor amendments, makes clear Indian tribal byways are eligible for designation and for funding.
Sec 1902: Donations and Credits: Amends 23 U.S.C. 323(c) to include local governments, and eliminates §323(e). This means local governments will be able to provide the same kinds of donations as private donors.
NOT INCLUDED IN SAFETEA-LU:
Amendment proposed by the Administration and the Senate in 23 U.S.C. 217 to insert "pedestrians" every time §217 mentions "bicycles" or "bicyclists", and also to guarantee that equestrians clearly may be included as shared use path users.
Amendment proposed by the Administration and the Senate in 23 U.S.C. 144(o) to the Bridge program to allow historic bridge preservation efforts that cost more than the cost of demolition.
NOTE: MAP-21 refers to 23 U.S.C. 104(h). Here is the legislation as in effect through September 30, 2012.
Sec. 101(q). Correction of Recreational Trails Program Apportionment Exceptions.--Section 206(d)(3)(A) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by striking "(B), (C), and (D)" and inserting "(B) and (C)".
SEC. 9011. REPEAL OF NATIONAL RECREATIONAL TRAILS TRUST FUND.
This section eliminated the National Recreational Trails Trust Fund. The separate Trust Fund was not necessary, because the Recreational Trails Program receives funds directly from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Conforming amendment (b)(2) is unrelated to Recreational Trails.
As amended in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995
and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1998
This part may be cited as the "Symms National Recreational Trails Act of 1991".
[The original National Recreational Trails Funding Program, Section 1302 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (16 U.S.C. 1261) is repealed.]