The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently issued new guidance and increased funding for transportation alternatives projects, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities as well as other local community projects.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) nearly doubled funding for the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside program, from $850 million annually to an average annual amount of $1.44 billion over five years, according to a news release from FHWA.
“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,” FHWA Deputy Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in a statement. “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 pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects, recreational trails, Safe Routes to School projects, road safety assessments, historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to storm-water and habitat connectivity.
FHWA says the program allows states to develop a process to "suballocate up to 100% of funds to counties, MPOs, and regional transportation planning organizations."
The new guidance encourages states to transportation agencies to include demographic information into their TA Set-Aside program application in order to "better measure transportation equity and address the needs of underserved communities," FHWA says.