As the need for grant funding for municipal transportation projects increases,
it’s important to be aware of many different grant sources for transportation funding. Federal funds, state funds, and private foundations can fund grants for public transportation, grants for road and highway maintenance, grants for recreational paths, grants for emission reduction and alternative fuel programs, and many more. We have selected a few such opportunities to highlight below.
The government recently appropriated $600 million for Fiscal Year 2014 to the TIGER program, also known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant Program, run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This program funnels grant money toward road, rail, transit, and port projects. This is a very competitive grant program that funds mostly multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects. Last year, funds from these grants were awarded to 52 capital projects in 37 states. Requests for Proposals will be issued later this year.
This program provides grants to states that then disperse the money to transportation programs. Each state decides how to allocate the money. Some have open grant competitions while others allocate through legislative and political processes. Authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the funds are dispersed among several programs including: The National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Program, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Railway-Highway Crossings Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, and Metropolitan Planning. All of these programs have different requirements, eligibility conditions, and deadlines. The government authorized $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for MAP-21.
FedEx offers this grant program focusing on sustainable transportation solutions that reduce emissions and congestion and/or enhance safety and expand accessibility. A municipality would need to partner with a nonprofit organization to apply, and only specific program needs will be funded. Applications are accepted year round and are available online.
This program, established in 1994 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), has awarded more than $24 million to over 1,400 community-based organizations since its inception. These programs support communities seeking solutions to local environmental and public health issues. Building partnerships, such as municipalities pairing with a local transit agency or a nonprofit organization, is a key in this program. In the past, these grants have helped communities deal with greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—all major components of transportation projects. Just last year (2013), Sunflower Community Action, Inc. in Wichita, Kan. received a grant to help with energy efficiency as it relates to air quality. This project encouraged the use of clean technologies that will help reduce soot and smog. Requests for proposals are expected in October 2014.
In our home state of Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources is currently accepting applications for its Bicycle Path, Off Highway Vehicle and Federal Recreational Trails (RTP) grant programs until March 1, 2014. Funds from these grants can be used for trail construction and rehabilitation, restoration of areas adjacent to trails, construction of trail-related support facilities, and land acquisition. This program does require a 20% non-federal funding match. For the Recreational Trails Program, there is a maximum grant award of $200,000. There is no maximum grant award limit for acquisition projects and for motorized projects. Check with your state’s DNR to find similar programs.
Whether you already have transportation projects planned or are simply seeking information on what projects are fundable by grants, we are here to help. Our services are completely customizable to your needs. Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through the process. And remember, the first consultation is always free.
Photo credit: mSeattle