Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
National Recreational Trail Grant Fund Awards
August 2002

I. Discussion: NRFT is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing recreational trails. At the federal level, this fund is administered by the Federal Highway Administration and distributed to states via a formula that takes into account state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles. Nationwide, the program was appropriated $50 Million for the current fiscal year (FY2002), Texas’ share of these funds is $2,221,170. In addition, a few projects funded in previous years were completed under budget or were withdrawn creating another $220,000 available for re-allocation this year.

In March 2002, a 90 day call for proposals was issued. Cities, counties, state and federal parks and trail related groups were directly notified by mail of the availability of the trail funds. Eighty-three projects were submitted for funding consideration requesting almost $6.6 Million in funds.

The Act that created this fund stipulates that states must have a trails advisory board made up of various trail user group representatives to be eligible to receive the federal funds. The purpose of the trails advisory board is to provide guidance in the distribution of these funds. The 11-member, Texas Trails Advisory Board met in June to review the submitted trail project proposals and develop a list of recommended projects for funding. Each project was reviewed by the advisory board and ranked based on the quality of the project, its cost effectiveness, its impact on recreational trail opportunities, and geographic distribution of funds. Exhibit A contains the list of submitted projects, with funds requested by each sponsor, funding recommended by the advisory board and a description of each project.

A federal requirement of the NRTF is that 30% of the funds be spent on motorized recreational trail projects, 30% on non-motorized trail projects, with the remaining 40% discretionary. This year we did not receive enough requests for quality motorized projects to satisfy the 30% requirement and will carry-over $212,752 of FY2002 funds earmarked for motorized projects into next fiscal year. The Department utilizes 7% of the state's share to cover administrative costs associated with this program.

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"Funding for 32 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $2,072,937 is approved."

Attachments - 2
1. Exhibit A - Project Listing and Funding Recommendations (Available upon request)
2. Exhibit B - Fiscal Note (Available upon request)