By now, you’ve likely heard that the new transportation bill, MAP-21, consolidated bicycling and walking programs into a new program called Transportation Alternatives, and that overall funding was cut by approximately 30 percent. However, the details vary quite a bit state by state. In this blog I hope to help you understand more about the financial impact specific to your state.
How much will my state get for Transportation Alternatives?
The size of the funding cut for Transportation Alternatives is different in each state. We totaled funding available in FY2012 for Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails and compared it with what will be available in FY2013 for Transportation Alternatives. As you’ll see in our FY12 vs. FY 13 funding levels chart, the size of the cuts range from 18.18 percent (Georgia) to 51.57 percent (Vermont). The funding cuts are so varied because funding for Transportation Alternatives is now tied to a percentage of the total of a state’s various surface transportation dollars, rather than the old funding formulas.
How is my state’s Transportation Alternatives allocation divided up among MPOs and the state?
The Transportation Alternatives funding is divided up in several ways:
- First, the apportionment for Recreational Trails is taken off the top, unless the Governor opts out.
- Of the funds that remain, half is to be distributed throughout the state based on population. None of these funds can be transferred to other transportation programs.
- If your state has Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) serving 200,000 people or more, they will receive a portion of those funds, based on their share of the state’s population, through suballocation.
- Any funds remaining after the MPO suballocation must be awarded by the state to other, lower-population areas of the state through a project competition.
- The remaining half of funds are to be distributed by the state through a grant competition, but all or part of this funding can be transferred to other transportation programs.
You can get a better handle on this by looking at your state’s specific allocations in our Transportation Alternatives breakouts chart. You’ll be able to see that, for example, in California 96.4 percent of the by-population pot of funding (or $32.1 million) will be suballocated to MPOs and that in Montana, none of the by-population pot of funding will be suballocated, leaving it all for a population-based grant competition. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has also created state-by-state maps with estimates of how much each specific MPO will receive. (Note: since this blog was posted, FHWA has issued the official MPO allocation charts.)
How much does my state have left under the current Safe Routes to School program?
Many states still have funds remaining from the past eight years of Safe Routes to School funding. Those funds continue to be available, and states can continue to use those dollars to award new Safe Routes to School grants, under the original law.
Now that I understand the financial impact on my state, what should I do now?
We are working hand-in-hand with the other national bicycling and walking groups to identify lead organizers for each state, and to produce a suite of tools and resources to help advocates maximize funding for bicycling in walking in each state. Look for more information from us later this week about how you can volunteer to help with these state by state campaigns.
For more information on MAP-21, see our MAP-21 Resource Center.