Proposed Implementation of the new Transportation Alternatives Program

As many of you know, the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program was eliminated with the passage of the new Federal Transportation Bill – MAP-21.

MAP-21 established a new program called the Transportation Alternatives Program or TAP. The Transportation Alternatives Program includes the follow programs under SAFETEA-LU: Transportation Enhancements, Federal Safe Routes to School, Rails to Trails, and Recreational Trails. Currently, the TAP funds will come into California with an option of a $5M off the top to the Recreational Trails Program. The remainder will be split 50/50, with 50% to go to the MPOs and 50% to any area of the State. Of the 50% MPO split, the MPOs will administer those funds for areas with a population greater than 200k and the State will administer those funds for areas with population less than 200k. It is also expected that the State will administer the 50% of TAP funds that do not go to the MPOs. The big change from TE is that Caltrans cannot apply for TAP funds as the applicant.

Here is the link to the interim FHWA TAP Guidance:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/guidance/guidetap.cfm

Here is FHWA TAP Fact Sheet:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/tap.cfm

Final FHWA TAP guidelines are expected in the near future.

So, what happens to the current program of TE projects? There are TE funds available for FY 12/13 and half of FY 13/14. All 12/13 TE project will be funded using these funds. In 13/14, those projects that are not eligible for TAP funds will utilize the remaining TE funds. The remaining projects will all need to be reviewed for TAP eligibility.

PROPOSED Active Transportation Program
Now for something new…

The Governor’s Proposed budget that was released on Jan. 10, introduced the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The ATP would combine TAP, EEM, BTA, SR2S and the Recreation Trail Program into one program containing both state and federal funding.

The Budget proposes a shift of $134.2 million in state and federal funds to consolidate five existing programs into a single Active Transportation Program to fund bicycle, pedestrian, and mitigation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the objectives of Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008 (SB 375), as well as provide safety benefits.

We are awaiting more information on this proposed program and also waiting to see if it actually becomes part of the approved budget in May or June. However, if the program goes forwards as outlined, the plan is for ONE solicitation for ATP projects as opposed to 5 separate solicitations. It is not clear at this time exactly how the funds will be distributed.

Obviously, this effects our ability to complete guidelines and the application and solicitation process for TAP at this time.

Here is the link to the Governor’s proposed budget:
http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/GovernorsBudget/2500/2660.pdf

Here is the summary:
http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/BudgetSummary/Transportation.pdf

About stheiss

Suzi Theiss is the District Local Assistance Engineer for District 1, Eureka. She has been with Caltrans for 29 years, the last 4 years with Local Assistance. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a BS in Environmental Engineering and is a licensed Civil Engineer.

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