Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
National Recreational Trail Grant Funding
November 2004

I. Executive Summary: Action item to award federal funds allocated under the National Recreational Trail Grants for trail construction, renovation and acquisition projects. Obligates federal National Recreational Trail Funds to eligible trail projects based upon the recommendations of the Texas Trails Advisory Board.

II. Discussion: The purpose of the National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails. The 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 funding level and authorization for the program is contained in the Federal Highway Bill that had been called the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century or TEA-21. TEA-21 officially expired on October 1, 2003 and Congress has yet to pass a new Highway Bill. As such, transportation funding, and related programs have relied on a series of continuing resolutions to carry on.

At the time of the August Commission meeting, Texas' share of federal FY04 NRTF funds was $2,018,172 and the Commission approved 27 projects totaling $1,918,797 for funding. Since that time, another two month Highway Bill continuing resolution was passed by Congress. This action has made an additional $455,598 available for the NRTF in Texas for the current fiscal year. The Texas Trails Advisory Board recommended at their July 2004 meeting that if additional federal funds become available, that the next ranked group of reviewed projects be considered for funding. Five projects requesting a total of $402,750 were in the next grouping of projects as ranked by the Texas Trails Advisory Board. These projects likely would have been recommended for funding at the August Commission meeting if this had been a typical year. As such, staff recommends that the Commission approve funding for these five additional projects listed in Exhibit A due to Federal funding made available to the State of Texas. Seven percent of the supplemental funding, or $31,891, will be utilized for administration of the program as allowed by the Act that created the program.

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

"Funding for five projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $402,750 is approved."

Attachments - 2
1. Exhibit A - Project Listing and Funding Recommendations
2. Exhibit B - Fiscal Note