Mike Passo, Professional TrailBuilders Association (via telephone)
Steve Salisbury, American Motorcyclist Association
Larry Smith, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (via telephone)
Dave Tyahla, National Recreation and Park Association (via telephone)
Tyler Wilson, The Corps Network (via telephone)
Catherine Ahern, American Recreation Coalition
Christopher Douwes, Federal Highway Administration (via telephone)
Katy Hartnett, PeopleForBikes (via telephone)
Minutes of Previous Meeting: On motion by S. Salisbury, seconded by P. Olsen, the minutes of the October 8, 2015 meeting were approved as distributed.
RTP Reauthorization Update: The board noted that the reauthorization conference report was expected to be approved by both the House and Senate and then signed by the President by no later than December 9th (Note to minutes: The bill was actually signed on December 4th). M. Fowler reported that there were no changes to the RTP’s $85 million in funding or to the provision allowing governors to opt out of the program. It was noted that, with the exception of RTP-funded projects, every Surface Transportation Program (STP) project would have to be treated like a federal-aid highway project. C. Douwes noted that the reporting requirement for the STP (TAP) Set Aside was a significant change that the DOT needed to review before issuing its guidance. M. Fowler noted that various groups were likely to be interested in playing a role in the reporting process.
Long-Term Planning for RTP Reauthorization: The Board then discussed next steps. It was agreed that a short message would be drafted describing the important RTP victory, which, following approval by the CRT Executive Committee, would be shared immediately with CRT members and the CRT Council of Advisors for further distribution within their networks. It was also agreed that thank-you letters from the Co-Chairs would be prepared by ARC and hand delivered by RTC to all the House and Senate champions.
The Board continued its discussion from the previous meeting regarding the need for a definitive study of fuel used in non-highway recreation to quantify the contribution to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) made by non-highway recreation and to validate the RTP’s claim on HTF funds. It was agreed that M. Fowler and D. Taylor would contact the offices of Sens. Klobuchar and Risch to discuss the need for a study.
P. Olsen noted that he and Keri Wanner had discussed next steps regarding the use of social media. He reported that some initial prompts had been prepared and distributed regarding the RTP in general prior to the T&I Committee’s markup of the bill. He stated that additional prompts would be prepared for use when the bill was signed by the President. With that done, he explained that he and K. Wanner would work on a strategy and implementation calendar for a full social-media campaign.
M. Fowler and S. Salisbury agreed to follow up regarding the development of a plan to increase the awareness and understanding of RTP on Capitol Hill that had been discussed at the previous meeting.
CRT Awards Event: D. Taylor agreed to continue as Chair of the Awards Committee. It was noted that, at the previous meeting, M. Passo had offered to take Margie Tatro’s place on the committee. P. Gluck agreed to ask if Stuart Macdonald would be willing to serve on the committee. Others interested in serving on the committee were asked to contact C. Ahern, who would follow up with D. Taylor.
The Board discussed the award categories. Following discussion, it was agreed that a new category would be added covering the recruitment of advocacy partners, like local officials. D. Taylor agreed to develop descriptive language for this new category that would be sensitive to the political constraints on 501(c)(3) organizations.
The Board discussed the awards event and agreed that upgrading the space from a function room in the Rayburn basement would be desirable. D. Taylor agreed to look into reserving the open space on the floor above the Independence Avenue entrance to Rayburn for the entire afternoon/early evening of June 7th, 8th or 9th, which would allow the placement of displays at 1:00, followed by an abbreviated awards presentation and reception later in the day. It was agreed that any briefing on the RTP that was part of the event should emphasize its breadth rather than focus on the individual trail uses that it supported. It was agreed that providing opportunities for winners to visit their Congressional delegation was important and that having some kind of leave-behind item – possibly a replica of the award – for those visits would be a nice addition. Also important was the need to share information with the winners’ home-town newspapers. The Board discussed holding the awards event at DOT, followed by a reception on Capitol Hill, and agreed that such a strategy made more sense for 2017, when there would be a new Administration in place.
The Board discussed the importance of nominations for more than one award category being asked to include information supporting their eligibility for each different category. It was agreed that asking for separate nominations for each category would be too burdensome.
Regarding the state awards, it was agreed that broadly knowledgeable sources would be asked to suggest states to consider for the trails program award while CRT members would be asked to suggest the states to be considered for the state trails advisory committee award.
The Board discussed how to enhance public awareness of a trail project’s status as an RTP Achievement Award winner. Suggestions included a decal for a trail marker, perhaps with a QR code providing a link to more information. P. Olsen agreed to look at alternatives as part of the CRT’s enhanced communication efforts. It was suggested that K. Wanner and S. Macdonald be asked for suggestions since they worked closely with trail administrators.
Trail Technology Enhancement:M. Fowler agreed to look into options that might be available for identifying and promoting the use of smart trail ideas, including small grants ($1,000-$5,000) for technology demonstrations that could be funded from the RTP administrative takedown.
Strategy Session: D. Crandall suggested that the CRT hold a brainstorming session in the first quarter of 2016 to look at CRT goals for the next round of transportation legislation. He mentioned the need to develop a strategy for dealing with possible opt outs by governors, noting that CRT should monitor the mentions of RTP in state proclamations of Great Outdoors Month. He commented that finding ways to enhance funding for trails on federal lands and to encourage states to earmark a portion of state gas taxes for trails could also be topics for discussion. He emphasized that CRT members based in D.C. would be asked to attend such a brainstorming session in person.
Next Meeting: It was agreed that the next meeting of the CRT Board of Directors would be held on Thursday, January 14, 2016, beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST. D. Taylor agreed that the Awards Committee would meet before that date and have its recommendations ready for Board review.
Adjournment: On motion by P. Olsen, seconded by S. Salisbury, the meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.