OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT PROVIDING CONTINUED FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION'S RECREATION TRAILS PROGRAM.
This bill expands the purposes of the Connecticut bikeway grant program to allow a wider range of potential projects and grant recipients. A 2007 law authorized up to $6 million per year in general obligation (GO) bonds for FYs 08 and 09 to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to establish a bikeway grant program for municipalities. The bill removes the restriction that the grants are only for municipalities.
Under the bill, eligible projects may include locally supported trails and trail systems, in addition to the currently eligible projects (e.g., bikeways and multiuse paths established as part of the State Recreational Trails Plan). The bill allows grants to be used for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, and benches. As under current law, grants may also be used for planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways. The bill also allows the grants to be used for these purposes for multiuse “trails” instead of multiuse “paths.”
Under current law, to be eligible for a grant, an applicant must include a 20% local match provided by municipal, federal, other state, nonprofit, or private funds, but if the application is for more than one municipality, then the match requirement is 10%. The bill also allows in-kind services to count toward the 20% match and provides the 10% match if the application is specifically for trails in more than one municipality. Additionally, the applicant must assume responsibility for maintaining the bikeways or other trails. Under current law, the municipality is responsible.
The bill increases, from up to 2% to up to 5%, the amount of the bond allocation DEEP may use for administering the program. Under current law, the commissioner must establish an advisory committee of trail users and advocates to advise DEEP on the allocation of funds. The bill eliminates that advisory committee, and instead requires the Connecticut Greenways Council to advise DEEP. By law, the 11-member Connecticut Greenways Council advises the state and municipalities on planning and implementing greenways.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015