Funding opportunities for the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program are specified in the newly created FAST Act (“Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act”, Statutory citation: FAST Act § 1109; 23 U.S.C. 133(h)). The FAST Act eliminates the previous MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and replaces it with a set-aside of Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program funding for Transportation Alternatives. These changes, however, do not effectively change VTrans’ program or criteria. These set-aside funds include all projects and activities that were previously eligible under TAP, encompassing a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, Safe Routes to School projects, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity. All projects must be developed in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations. All projects must demonstrate a strong transportation link.
The Transportation Alternatives program provides funding for the following eligible activities:
- Construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation, including sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, traffic calming techniques, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure, and transportation projects to achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
- Construction, planning, and design of infrastructure-related projects and systems that will provide safe routes for non-drivers, including children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities to access daily needs.
- Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, or other non-motorized transportation users.
- Construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.
E. Community improvement activities, including--
(i) historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic
(ii) vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way to improve roadway safety, prevent against invasive species, and provide erosion control; and
(iii) archaeological activities relating to impacts from implementation of a transportation project eligible under this title.
F. Any environmental mitigation activity, including pollution prevention and
pollution abatement activities and mitigation to--
(i) address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff, including activities described in sections 133(b)(11), 328(a), and 329; or
(ii) reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats.
(iii) Construction of salt sheds is eligible under the environmental
mitigation category. Eligibility for salt sheds will be considered on
a case by case basis based on proximity of the existing storage
location to a major water body (generally within 50 ft.). We
recommend reviewing eligibility with VTrans prior to application
G. The Safe Routes to School Program under Section 1404 (SAFETEA-LU)
(23 U.S.C. 402 note).
Note: The VTrans Enhancement to Transportation Projects Policy (the “Amenity Policy”) applies to these grants. Only items that are a “functional necessity”, as defined in the link below, are eligible for reimbursement for these projects. http://vtrans.vermont.gov/sites/aot/files/documents/policies/60131-Enhancements-to-Transportation-Projects.pdf
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