The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced new guidance and increased funding that can help state and local governments carry out projects that create safer, more walkable streets, including pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, Safe Routes to School programs, and other local community projects.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden nearly doubled funding for the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside, from $850 million annually for fiscal years 2018 through 2020 to an average annual amount of $1.44 billion from 2022 through 2026.
“With this new guidance we’re announcing today, states and localities have one more tool to advance critically important projects that improve safety and accessibility for all and use a Complete Streets approach to create safe, connected, and equitable street and trail networks,” said FHWA Deputy Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “These projects give people more affordable options to get from Point A to Point B while also reducing emissions from the transportation sector.”
The TA Set-Aside program can be used for a variety of projects including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, Safe Routes to School projects, road safety assessments, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity.
Given the high demand for these types of projects at the local level, the program also allows states to develop a process to suballocate up to 100% of funds to counties, MPOs, and regional transportation planning organizations. The law also requires states to hold a competitive grant process for local governments and other eligible entities before transferring TA set-aside funds to other Federal-aid programs.
The guidance also encourages states and metropolitan planning organizations to incorporate demographic information into their TA Set-Aside program application and selection procedures as they prioritize projects to better measure transportation equity and address the needs of underserved communities.