RTP Funding Helps Trails Nationwide

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The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), a federation of national and regional trail-related groups, presented its second annual Achievement Awards to seven trail programs and projects for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds.

The awards, announced at a special Capitol Hill ceremony, featured Congressman Thomas Petri, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Ground Transportation Subcommittee, and Cynthia Burbank, Associate Administrator for Planning and the Environment at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Mr. Petri's Subcommittee has oversight responsibility for the RTP, which is administered by the FHWA.

The trail projects and programs honored by the CRT are:

- The North Augusta Greeneway Bridge Project, North Augusta, South Carolina, in the category of Construction and Design--Local

- The Heritage Rail Trail County Park, York County, Pennsylvania, in the category of Construction and Design--Long Distance

- The Thompson "Curve" Trail Restoration Project, Thompson Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, in the category of Maintenance and Rehabilitation

- The New Hampshire Trail Patrol in the category of Education and Communication

- The Maah Daah Hey Trail, Billings and McKenzie Counties, North Dakota, in the category of Multiple-Use Management and Corridor Sharing

- The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Trail, Union County, South Dakota, in the category of Environment and Wildlife Compatibility

- The Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail across northern Nebraska, in the category of Accessibility Enhancement

Data on RTP Funding Analyzed

The Recreational Trails Program, first established in 1991 and then reauthorized as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), returns a portion of federal gasoline taxed generated by non highway recreation to the states for trail-related purposes. Currently, the program receives $50 million in annual funding. The members of the CRT work together to build awareness and understanding of the RTP, to support its effective implementation and to help ensure that it receives adequate funding.

During the awards ceremony, CRT Co-Chair Dean Tice also reported some of the findings from a recent data-collection effort undertaken by CRT to measure the impact and importance of the RTP. This review of over 2,500 projects funded by the RTP since the program's inception revealed that:

- Federal RTP dollars have been matched at least 1:1 nationally by state, local and trail enthusiast funding for projects.

- Trail and bridge construction/reconstruction have been the leading category of trail projects funded under the program.

- Projects appear to be benefitting specific trail activities in a way that is generally proportionate to overall public participation in each activity.

- While the size of the projects varies tremendously, the average project received approximately $25,000 in RTP funds.

Mr. Tice also announced that the data-collection effort, which had been undertaken in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, would be continued for a second year.

The table above categorizes the users of the funding, showing the number of projects in each category out of 2,524 reported.

--Reprinted from Trail Tracks, published by American Trails, Summer 2000. For more information on this article or other related issues contact American Trails at: P.O. Box 11046; Prescott, AZ 86304. Phone (520) 632 1140 or email AmTrails@futureone.com.

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