Mid-Way Through BIL: How are States Doing Implementing TAP?

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, which means it is time to take stock of how things are going and that transportation reauthorization conversations are already underway!

Let’s take a look at how states are doing implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), our core federal policy priority.

  • On the whole, even with a 60 percent increase in funds, states are doing an excellent job holding timely competitions, moving projects through the awarding and permitting process, and obligating funds on TAP projects.
  • While we are waiting on the official publication of TAP annual reports from the Federal Highway Administration, our preliminary understanding is that demand for these funds still outpaces availability of funds at a rate of $4 requested for every $1 awarded. This tells us that there continues to be incredible demand for projects that promote walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School.
  • More states are transferring funds to the Federal Transit Administration, which, in theory, enables them to expedite project delivery. We are working with partners to understand whether this flexibility (that primarily benefits urbanized areas) is actually expediting project delivery.
  • The provision that requires states to hold competitions, provide technical assistance, and fund eligible applications before transferring TAP funds to other uses is working as intended. Since BIL, only five states have transferred funds out of TAP, compared to pre-BIL, when nearly three-quarters of states had either transferred funds out of TAP or let them lapse.
  • Very few states are taking advantage of the provision allowing them to obligate funding on technical assistance (eight states), but our qualitative research that we will release as part of our biannual state report cards shows that significantly more states are providing technical assistance. It’s great that there is funding available for states to use to provide technical assistance, and it’s terrific that states are providing technical assistance while retaining their TAP funding for use on projects.

Take a peek at our second quarter of fiscal year 2024 TAP implementation analysis, and stay tuned for the release of our Making Strides: 2024 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities, which will provide greater detail on how states are doing implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program.

In the coming months, we will share our vision and plans for advocating for continued funding and policy change for safe, connected, and equitable walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School. As always, we welcome your insights into what’s working well and what could work better. Please send your ideas for how to improve federal funding and policy for Safe Routes to School, walking, and bicycling to Marisa Jones.