The new surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st
Century (MAP-21) took effect on October 1, 2012. Yesterday, the United
States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) issued interim guidance on the
new Transportation Alternatives program (TAP) that was established under the
MAP-21. The TAP replaces the
Transportation Enhancements program and also includes the Safe Routes to School
(SRTS) and Recreational Trails (RTP) programs. Overall the guidance should be
helpful to states and MPOs as they implement the bill.
The following are some highlights from the guidance document
that landscape architects may find useful:
Landscaping and Scenic Enhancement Projects:
- MAP-21 changes the “landscaping and scenic
beautification” eligibility category to “vegetation management.” However, landscaping and scenic enhancement
projects ARE eligible under TAP as
part of the construction of any Federal-aid highway project, including
TAP-funded projects. But, TAP funds cannot be used for landscaping and
scenic enhancement as independent projects.
- Under the “vegetation management” category,
routine maintenance is NOT eligible as a TAP activity except under the RTP.
Recreational Trails Program:
- All RTP provisions and requirements remain
unchanged under MAP-21.
makes RTP funding a set-aside from the TAP.
However, the governor of a state may opt out of the RTP if it notifies
the DOT Secretary not later than 30 days prior to apportionments being made for
any fiscal year.
- If a state opts out of the RTP, the funds remain
as TAP funds.
- If a state opts out of the RTP, the state may
still carry out trail projects under the TAP.
However, the trail projects would then be subject to all TAP
Safe Routes To School:
- Due to its consolidation with TAP, Safe Routes
to School projects will now fall under the same match requirements as most
other transportation projects—80 percent federal funding with a 20 percent
local match. (Under the previous surface transportation law, SAFETEA-LU,
SRTS projects received 100 federal funding).
- SRTS coordinators are not required under MAP-21
but are eligible for funding under TAP.
Thus, states may decide to retain their SRTS coordinators and use TAP
funds to pay for them. (Under
SAFETEA-LU, SRTS coordinators were required).
MAP-21 eliminates the National Scenic Byways
program. However, the following projects
that may have been eligible under the National Scenic Byways program are eligible
construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing
historic preservation and rehabilitation of
historic facilities related to a byway; and
bicycle and pedestrian facilities along a byway.
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) entire guidance
document on the Transportation Alternatives Program may be found here. For
additional information, please visit FHWA’s MAP-21 Resource
ASLA recently hosted a webinar Staying Active on Active Transportation:
Implementing MAP-21 for Landscape Architects that discussed some of the
changes to active transportation programs under TAP and urged landscape architects
to become active in state and local advocacy efforts on behalf of these
programs. ASLA Government Affairs will continue to keep members up to date on issues affecting landscape architects as MAP-21 is implemented.
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