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FHWA Gives Final Guidance on TAP

Recently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted a webinar entitled “MAP-21: Final TAP Guidance,” which provided the agency’s interpretation of how the recently-adopted Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) will be carried out. Under the new surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the TAP program replaces the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program, which landscape architects frequently accessed to plan and design bicycle and pedestrian projects, streetscapes, green infrastructure projects in the public right-of-way, scenic byways, and other alternative transportation projects. 

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FHWA’s Trails and Enhancements Program Manager Christopher Douwes was the presenter for the webinar and provided detailed information on TAP’s new competitive process requirements and examples of eligible projects under the new program. Under the old TE program, 12 categories of projects were eligible for funding. However, under TAP, those 12 eligible activities categories have been consolidated into six categories. 

Douwes clarified that under the new TAP categories, projects for sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, and traffic calming would be eligible projects. Under the new vegetation management practices subcategory under Community Improvements, Douwes pointed out that innovative green infrastructure projects like the removal of invasive species, planting native plants to control erosion along a transportation corridor, and vegetation practices to improve sightlines and other safety considerations would be eligible. Living snow fences could be eligible under this category, too. However, Douwes made it clear that TAP funding could not be used for routine maintenance and operations, which means TAP cannot be used for routine mowing and maintenance. Douwes also reported that FHWA views streetscape projects, especially those benefitting pedestrians, and landscaping projects related to a transportation projects as being eligible for TAP funding.

You can view the webinar HERE. And, for more information on the new TAP program, visit the National Transportation Alternatives Clearinghouse.

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