PA 15-190—SB 1062

Environment Committee

AN ACT PROVIDING CONTINUED FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION'S RECREATION TRAILS PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act expands the purposes of the Connecticut bikeway grant program to allow a wider range of potential projects and grant recipients. A 2007 law authorized general obligation bonds for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to establish a bikeway grant program for municipalities. The act removes the restriction that the grants are only for municipalities.

Under the act, eligible projects may include locally supported trails and trail systems, in addition to currently eligible projects (e. g. , bikeways and multiuse paths established as part of the State Recreational Trails Plan). The act allows grants to be used for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, and benches. As under existing law, grants may also be used for planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways.

Under the law, to be eligible for a grant, an applicant must include a 20% local match from municipal, federal, other state, nonprofit, or private funds. If the application is for more than one municipality, the match requirement is 10%. The act 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 prior law, the municipality was responsible.

The act increases, from up to 2% to up to 5%, the amount of the bond allocation DEEP may use to administer the program. It also requires the Connecticut Greenways Council, instead of an advisory committee of trail users and advocates, to advise DEEP on the allocation of funds. By law, the 11-member Connecticut Greenways Council advises the state and municipalities on planning and implementing greenways.

PA 15-1, June Special Session, 65 and 238, repeals this act and reenacts substantially similar provisions, effective July 1, 2015.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

OLR Tracking: JLK; KD; PF; BS