The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was authorized by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) which was signed into law in 2012. The TAP redefines the former Transportation Enhancements (TE) Program eligibilities and consolidates them with the Safe Routes to Schools, Recreational Trails Program, and the planning, design, or construction of boulevards in the right of way of former Interstates or other divided highways. With the exception of the Recreational Trails Program, the TAP is administered by the Florida Department of Transportation. The programming of transportation alternatives projects is handled by the department’s district offices.
MAP-21 funding for transportation alternatives projects as provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) includes eligibility in the following project categories:
- Facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation.
- Safe routes for non-drivers (Including children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities to access daily needs, not to be confused with the Safe Routes to School Program).
- Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for pedestrian and bicycle trails and other non-motorized transportation users.
- Construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.
- Community improvement activities, including:
- Inventory, control or removal of outdoor advertising
- Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities
- Vegetation management practices within transportation rights-of-way to improve roadway safety, prevent against invasive species, and provide erosion control
- Archeological activities related to impacts from implementation of a transportation project
- Environmental mitigation activities, including pollution prevention and pollution abatement activities and mitigation to:
- Address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff
- Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats
The TAP is a cost reimbursable program, under which projects that are proposed by eligible project sponsors are selected for implementation through a competitive process.
Local control and decision-making is a fundamental part of TAP. Fifty percent of the funds are sub-allocated to areas based on population while the other fifty percent may be obligated to other areas of the state. Eligible entities (project sponsors) within Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) with population greater than 200,000 submit eligible projects which are selected and ranked by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) through a competitive process, in consultation with the FDOT. In TMAs with multiple MPOs, the MPOs coordinate and agree upon a single project priority list for the entire TMA.
Projects within MPOs with population between 50,000 and 200,000 and Non-MPO Areas are ranked in priority order by the appropriate MPO or County Commission, and submitted to the FDOT District Office for funding consideration.
The following entities are eligible for TAP funding: local governments, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, natural resource or public lands agencies, school districts/local education agencies or schools, tribal governments, and any other local or regional governmental agencies with responsibility for oversight of transportation or recreational trails.
Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a competitive program administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) which provides grants for projects that provide, renovate or maintain recreational trails, trailhead and trailside facilities.
Eligible projects include:
Mixed-Use projects (either motorized, non-motorized or a combination of both)
Recreational trails are thoroughfares or tracks across land or snow used for recreational purposes including, but not limited to bicycling, cross-country skiing, day hiking, equestrian activities, jogging or similar, fitness activities, trail biking, overnight and long distance backpacking, roller skating, in-line skating, dog sledding, running, snowmobiling, aquatic or water activity and vehicular travel by motorcycle, four-wheel drive or all terrain, off-road vehicles.
The FDEP’s Office of Greenways & Trails administers the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Projects are funded through the RTP Grant Application process. Eligible entities are: municipal or county governments, state or federal governmental agencies, recognized state and federal Indian tribal governments, and organizations approved by the State.
The maximum grant amount for mixed use projects and non-motorized projects is
$200,000. The maximum grant award amount for motorized projects it is $660,000
Applications are initially reviewed for eligibility by FDEP pursuant to state and federal eligibility requirements. The eligible applications are prioritized by DEP in consultation with the RTP Advisory Committee and submitted to the FHWA for funding consideration.