The ins-and-outs of the TAP application

Posted in: Bridges, Construction, Environmental, Highways


Walkway_body-300x200With the rise of urbanism and the need for more pedestrian-friendly travel options, the federal government created the Transportation Alternatives Program. This highly competitive program operates on an application process that, if successfully navigated, can help gain financial aid for your pedestrian-friendly project.

Funded through MAP-21, TAP replaces the previous Transportation Enhancement Activities, Recreational Trails and Safe Routes to School programs. These grant funds are available once the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration approve the project. The federal government will pay up to 80 percent of eligible costs with supplemental funds from State or local government to cover the remainder.

Projects that may be eligible to receive TAP funding are projects like sidewalks, bicycle paths, pedestrian and bicycle signals, boulevards, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure that provides non-motorized access for pedestrians and bicyclists. Funds are typically reserved for local and regional transportation authorities, natural resource agencies and school districts.

Application deadlines for TAP funding vary by state. Each state application requires solid responses as the funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Having a strong purpose and need statement is a good starting point for your application, as enhancing livability and quality of life in the community is an essential component of TAP-funded projects.

Lighting_body-300x175Showing proof of public support for the project adds to its eligibility. In our experience, stakeholder input is vital to these projects coming to fruition. City and town officials, stakeholders and local citizens affected by the project can provide insight to help guide the project’s development.

Remember, the application should demonstrate a clear, realistic understanding of the project’s cost and phasing. Agencies requesting funding assistance must show that they are able to immediately fund their portion of the project cost. Additionally, explaining where this project fits in your community’s existing transportation plans will help create a successful application.

If your project fits these requirements, your agency may be eligible for federal assistance to enhance your community’s pedestrian accommodations. To learn more about your state’s specific deadlines and requirements, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.


Zach Haney, PE

About the Author

Zack Haney, P.E., is well experienced in transportation design and has been involved in a variety of transportation projects throughout the Southeast. He is a Safety Assessment Program volunteer and recently worked with local municipalities to assess roadways and bridges after South Carolina’s 1,000-year flood.

Read more posts by Zach Haney, PE

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