Update on the Transportation Alternatives Program in MAP-21

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by NADO Admin

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was created in the new federal transportation law, MAP-21 (P. L. 112-141), which combines three previously separate programs—Transportation Enhancements, which funded bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and safety programs; the Recreational Trails program, and the Safe Routes to School program. In the new program, overall funding is reduced by about $300 million compared to FY2012 apportionments, and states can transfer up to 50 percent of funds to other apportioned programs. TAP funding will comprise about 2 percent of total federal highway spending over the next year.

New implementation guidance for the  Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was recently released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the administration is looking toward other highway programs to make up for a loss of federal funding due to cuts and program consolidation in MAP-21.State DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations are not eligible for TAP funding, but can partner with local governments, school districts, and transit agencies, on transportation alternative projects.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to publish a draft model for metropolitan planning organizations to follow when developing a grant process to distribute TAP funding. Under the new program, after funds are set aside for the Recreational Trails program, half of a state’s TAP funding is allocated based on population. For areas with populations greater than 200,000 people, funds go to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) that then distribute the federal dollars using a competitive grant process. DOT is hopeful that the new model, as mentioned in the guidance, can help planning organizations speed up the grant process. Click here (http://www NULL.fhwa NULL.dot NULL.gov/map21/guidance/guidetap NULL.cfm) to view FHWA’s Transportation Alternatives Program interim guidance.

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