Recreational Trails Program

Hudson River Greenway | Photo by TrailLink user umardrr1225

Funded by gas taxes paid by off-road vehicles, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is the only federal funding source dedicated to the construction, restoration and maintenance of nonmotorized and motorized recreational trails (paved and unpaved) and trail-related facilities. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) allocates funding to states. States must use 30% of their funding for motorized trail uses, 30% for nonmotorized use trails, and 40% for diverse trail uses.

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, annual funding for the program maintains at $84 million annually, despite $281 million in annual gas tax receipts for non-highway recreational vehicle tax.


Related: Streetsblog│Federal Recreational Trails Program Underfunded by $200M+ Per Year

Quick Facts:

  • Administered By: FHWA which allocates funding and states administer grant programs
  • Type: Formula funded
  • Year Created: 1992

Eligibilities

The following are eligible project sponsors or applicants:

  • County governments
  • Municipal governments
  • Non-profit agencies

The following project types are eligible for funding:

  • Maintenance of existing trails
  • Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities
  • Construction of new trails
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trail usage
  • Accessibility and maintenance assessments of trail conditions
  • Developing and disseminating publications and operation of educational programs for safety and environmental protection
  • Administrative costs (up to 7% of funds)

Resources

Each state has a Recreational Trail Advisory committee and a Recreational Trails Program Administrator. You can locate your state’s primary contact through this database for more guidance on policies, the application processes, and eligibilities.

Additional federal and national resources provide information about the program and insight to the types of projects typically funded.

RTC'S PROGRAM PRIMER  RTP STATE PROFILES DATABASE

FHWA PROGRAM OVERVIEW  FHWA STUDY OF NON-HIGHWAY RECREATIONAL FUEL TAXES

Related: Five Top Trails That Make the Case for America’s Recreational Trails Program

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