The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund should be funded with a sales tax increase contained in the Invest in Iowa Act. Iowa Code 461.37 creates an allocation for trails of 10% of the receipts into the fund. This includes design, establishment, maintenance, improvement, and expansion of land trails and water trails.
The Iowa Legislature has funded the State Recreational Trails Program through the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. Funding levels have averaged $3 million per year, but 2014 levels were increased to $6 million. Funding in 2020 was appropriated at $1 million, and still, 24 projects (with Total project costs of $24.2M) applied to request $7.2M. Five projects were funded with a total cost of $4.9M and receiving a total of $1M from the State Recreational Trails Program.
Iowa’s trail infrastructure is beginning to age and will be in need of maintenance over the coming years. Local governments have been given the task of maintaining trails without additional funding. The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust could give needed funding to trails to maintain the infrastructure and help make sure Iowa’s trails are sustainable for generations.
No action needed at this time.
Demand for trails outpaces the ability to fund projects. Out of pocket recreation spending is likely to generate more sales tax than the annual investment with over $365 million per year (2011 Study) spent by bicyclists. New local businesses have also sprung up along trails benefitting from the investment. Trail events and rides have infused up to $500,000 of spending per event day to towns along the trails.
Learn more at http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/
Or return to our legislative page: https://www.iowabicyclecoalition.org/policy-and-legislation/