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Since 1991, transportation laws have included programs to fund projects such as bike lanes, bike paths, and sidewalks. These funds enable states and communities to access federal resources for safer, more accessible, economically vibrant streets. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) will determine how federal transportation funds are to be spent at the state and local level. The law, which takes effect on October 1, 2012, retains funding for biking and walking in a renamed and restructured program.
In the past, three programs were designed to fund non-motorized projects: Transportation Enhancements (TE), Safe Routes to School (SRTS), and Recreational Trails Program (RTP). In the last three years, these three programs represented 48% of federal funding for walking and biking projects. MAP-21 consolidates TE, SRTS, and RTP into into one program: Transportation Alternatives. Transportation Enhancements is renamed Transportation Alternative activities. The new law makes several important changes to the program: Biking and walking projects remain eligible. States can continue to fund biking and walking infrastructure under the consolidated program. The program Click toincludes a new eligibility, “safe routes for non-drivers,” for biking and walking edit Master subtitle style networks.
Some eligibilities are eliminated: The new law eliminates eligibility for
museums, bicycle and pedestrian education, and acquisition of scenic and historic sites. Constructing turnouts is still allowed. Other eligibilities have been modified.
New eligibilities have been added. Environmental mitigation was expanded from the specific uses in current law. Scenic byway program uses are now included.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) activities —both infrastructure and noninfrastructure — are eligible under the Transportation Alternatives program, but it is no longer a stand-alone program with guaranteed funding. Recreational Trails Program (RTP) remains unchanged and is funded at 2009 levels. Now, though, governors have a choice to opt out of the program 30 days prior to when funding is available. Additional use: Redesigning and constructing roadways in the right-of-way of 8/28/12 former interstates is now eligible.
Changes to Biking and Walking in MAP-21, the Transportation Law
Funding Levels and Allocation
MAP-21 cuts funding for key biking and walking programs. In 2013, only $808 million will be available for Transportation Alternatives, compared to the high of $1.2 billion combined for TE, SRTS, and RTP in 2011. Actual funding levels under the new law will depend on how well biking and walking projects fare in the new Transportation Alternatives program and in other programs where funding has been increased. MAP-21 also changes how biking and walking funds are distributed. First, funding for the Recreational Trails Program is taken off the top, provided a state has not chosen to opt out of funding. Remaining Transportation Alternatives funding is divided up into two equal pots. 50% funding by population: Departments of Transportation (DOTs) will distribute half of Transportation Alternatives funds according to the share of population within the state.
MPOs with population greater than 200,000: DOT will sub-allocate funds to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). MPOs will distribute their funds through their own competitive grant process. Communities with a population of 5,000 to 200,000: DOT will hold a competitive grant process for communities to compete for funds. Rural areas with a population under 5,000: DOT will hold a competitive grant process for communities to compete for funds.
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50% funding by grant program: State DOTs will distribute the remaining half of Transportation Alternatives funds through the competitive grant program without regard for population size. Eligible entities include local governments, school districts, tribal governments, and public lands agencies. State DOTs are not eligible. Changes to transferability of highway funds mean a state can transfer a larger percentage of these funds than under SAFETEA-LU.
Eligibility Under Other Programs
Biking and walking infrastructure continues to be eligible under all highway programs, including the Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ), and the Highway Safety and Infrastructure Program (HSIP). New requirements under HSIP require better data-gathering on biking and walking crashes and safety. Biking and walking infrastructure also continues to be eligible under some transit programs.
For more information, contact: Caron Whitaker Campaign Director, America Bikes email@example.com (202) 215-3908