Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Tim Hogsett

Recreation Trails Grant Funding
May 26, 2011

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

II.      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 NRTF 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 $95 million for the current federal fiscal year (FY2011); Texas’ share of these funds is $3,128,308.  Seven percent of the state’s apportionment ($216,000) is utilized to cover costs to administer the program, leaving $2,912,308 to fund projects.  A number of projects funded in previous years were completed under budget and two projects were cancelled, creating another $891,142 available for re-allocation this year.  The Department will utilize $485,000 of re-allocated funding to fund trail improvements in seven state parks and fund another three local projects resulting in a total of $3,803,450 of federal funding available to fund eligible trail construction projects.

In December, 2010, a 90 day call for proposals was issued.  Sixty eligible projects were submitted for funding consideration requesting over $9.0 million in funds.  Recommendations are to fund 21 of these projects at this time, in addition to the state park trails improvement program for a total of $3,803,450 of federal funding assistance.

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 10 member, Texas Statewide Trails Advisory Committee met in April 2011 to review the submitted trail project proposals and develop a list of recommended projects for funding.  Each project was reviewed by the advisory committee and scored 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, project scoring and funding recommendations made by the advisory committee and a description of each project.

A federal requirement of the NRTF is that 30 percent of the funds be spent on motorized recreational trail projects, 30 percent on non-motorized trail projects, with the remaining 40 percent discretionary.  The list of projects recommended for funding, if approved, will satisfy this federal requirement.   

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

"Funding for 21 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,318,450 and State Park trail improvements in the amount of $485,000 is approved."

Attachments — 1

  1. Exhibit A — Project Listing and Funding Recommendations

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A