Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
National Recreational Trail Grant Fund Awards
August 2003

I. Discussion: The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases to utilize off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. The purpose of the NRFT is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails. These federal funds are 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 (FY2003), Texas’ share of these funds is $2,154,340. In addition, $212,752 of FY2002 funds earmarked for motorized projects were carried forward and are available to obligate toward projects this year. Some projects funded in previous years were completed under budget or were withdrawn creating another $303,406 available for re-allocation this year. These funds will be utilized to improve trail systems in existing state parks at Sheldon Lake, Palo Duro and Caprock Canyons.

In March 2003, a 90-day call for proposals was issued. Fifty-nine projects were submitted for funding consideration requesting almost $4.6 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 nine-member, Texas Trails Advisory Board met in July 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. The three state park projects receiving the re-allocated funds are also listed.

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. The funding recommended by the advisory board year will satisfy the 30% - 40% - 30% distribution requirement. 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 30 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $2,519,575 is approved.”

Attachments – 1

1. Exhibit A – Project Listing and Funding Recommendations (available upon request)