Checking in on State Implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program

At the close of the third quarter of 2023, a few things stand out when we review the quarterly State of the States spreadsheet tracking states’ implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program. For starters, states are doing a great job obligating funds. In quarter 3, which ended on June 30, 2023, states obligated over $255 million in projects that support walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School. Alaska and Georgia both had funds at risk of lapsing at the end of September 2023, but they obligated enough funds to stay head of that risk. Minnesota and Washington joined Idaho and Oregon in staying ahead of funds at risk of lapsing for the next three years!

However, 16 states have funds at risk of lapsing if they do not obligate them within the next three months: AL, AZ, HI, LA, MD, MO, NM, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI. A few of these states only have a few hundred thousand at risk of lapsing, but some states have multi-millions in funding that will disappear on October 1 if it does not get committed to Transportation Alternatives Program projects! Advocates in these states should reach out to their state Transportation Alternatives Program managers to get a sense of the plan for obligating these funds. If local governments are having a hard time getting projects through the engineering, planning, and permitting phases, advocates may encourage state DOTs to use their TAP technical assistance funds to help local governments expedite project delivery.

Other takeaways from our analysis this quarter is that many states are transferring TAP funds to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). While “transferring” may sound like a negative thing, when state departments of transportation transfer TAP funds to other agencies, such as FTA, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, etc. the funds remain for their intended use, but are administered by a different agency. Following the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), USDOT highlighted opportunities to expedite project delivery when TAP funds are transferred to FTA, so we are really pleased to see states take advantage of this flexibility!

To date, six states have obligated funds on providing technical assistance, another new provision in the BIL. If you are in one of these six states, we would love to hear what those funds are being obligated on. Especially when there are new provisions, hearing examples from other states can be helpful to other states as they consider how to implement new parts of the law.

Keep us posted with your updates and questions about your state’s implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program!