Federal Transportation Funding
Federal transportation funding is administered by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) through its modal agencies, primarily the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Federal transportation policy, including the types of projects that can be funded and how funding is distributed to different funding programs, is set by Congress when it authorizes federal transportation spending. Congress most recently authorized federal transportation funding in 2015, when it passed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act will expire in fiscal year 2020 and Congress will need to take action before fiscal year 2021 in order to ensure that federal transportation funding is not interrupted.
This page provides resources on the FAST Act and resources on federal funding programs from its predecessor bill, MAP-21. This page also covers the topic of rescissions - which are funds that have been authorized and allocated to states, but are then withdrawn due to states not using that allocated funding after a period of time.
Resources on the FAST Act
The League's Need to Know Summary of the FAST Act: http://bikeleague.org/content/what-know-about-fast-act
FHWA's summary and resource page on the FAST Act: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/
Full text of the FAST Act: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/legislation.cfm
Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program Guidance: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/transportation_alternatives/guidanc...
Surface Transportation Block Grant Program Guidance: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/specialfunding/stp/160307.cfm
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program Guidance: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/cmaqfs.cfm
Highway Safety Improvement Program Guidance: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/rulemaking/docs/hsip_ig42216_final.pdf
Federal Lands Access Program Guidance: https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/flap/documents/FLAP%20Implem%20Guidanc...
The following resources are meant to help make the case for bicycling to your federal elected officials. They were created by America Bikes - a coalition of national bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations that was formed to lobby the federal government in order to increase funding for bicycling and walking.
Planning a "Show Congress" Event - This resource provides 10 tips and a comprehensive toolkit for planning an event with your Senators or Representatives to help them understand and see the value in funding bicycling and walking projects.
Download the "Show Congress" toolkit here.
Report on the Employment Impacts of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure - This report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst shows that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates more jobs per federal dollar than road-only construction projects. This report helps make the case that bicycle and pedestrian funding provides a direct impact on local employment in addition to the myriad health, environmental, and other benefits from completed bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Download the Employment Impacts report here.
National Poll on Support for Bicycling and Walking Funding - In 2012, America Bikes sponsored a nationally representative poll about public support for federal funding of bicycling and walking projects and programs. That poll found that 83% of Americans support continued or increased federal funding for bicycling and walking projects, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. America Bikes created three resources to help bicycle and pedestrian advocates present the findings of this poll to their elected officials:
In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). As MAP-21 was implemented the League's Advocacy Advance program developed resources and reports on federal transportation funding under MAP-21. While MAP-21 has now been replaced by the FAST Act, many of these resources continue to provide valuable information as the fundamentals of federal transportation funding programs did not change.
Advocacy Advance Federal Funding Resources
This resource provides an overview of how federal funding for bicycling and walking has evolved since 1991 when federal funding for bicycling and walking was first created in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA).
Download the Primer on Federal Funding here.
Navigating MAP-21: Transportation Alternatives Advocacy Tool Kit - This toolkit provides materials for state advocacy organizations to help ensure that state DOTs take full advantage of the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) as authorized under MAP-21. TAP was a new program under MAP-21 and is now called the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside under the FAST Act. Although the name changed under the FAST Act, many of the aspects of the program were unchanged and this toolkit still provides an overview of how the program should be implemented to promote bicycling and walking.
Download the Transportation Alternatives Program Advocacy Tool Kit here
Transportation Alternatives Program Competitive Grant Processes: Examples of Regional Applications - This report provides insight on how Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) implemented the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) under MAP-21. Under MAP-21, for the first time, MPOs were given control of how bicycling and walking projects were funded by the federal government by a portion of TAP being allocated directly to them. As part of this control, each of the over 400 MPOs had to set up a TAP application process. In this report you will find examples of those application processes and how they incorporated criteria crucial to successful bicycling and walking projects.
Download the TAP Competitive Grant Processes Report here
Understanding the Transportation Alternatives Campaign: Fully staff Transportation Alternatives - This one-pager makes the case for ensuring that each state DOT has sufficient stafff to plan for and implement bicycling and walking projects using federal transportation funding.
Download the TAP Staffing One-pager here
People who bike and walk make up over 16% of transportation fatalities, but states have not consistently spent money from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) on safety improvements for people who bike and walk. This Advocacy Advance report provides examples of state DOTs and state advocacy groups who have used HSIP to fund bicycling and walking projects.
Download Getting a Fair Share for Safety from HSIP here.
The Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) is a program that was newly created under MAP-21. FLAP provides funding for bicycling and walking projects that connect to public lands. This short report provides an overview of the program and how bicycle and pedestrian advocates can engage with the program in order to secure funding for bicycling and walking projects.
Download the FLAP Advocacy Guide here.
Rescissions occur when the federal government cancels the authority to spend federal transportation funds that were previously allocated to a state DOT, MPO, or other recipient of federal transportation funding. The majority of states do not spend at least 2% of federal transportation funds on bicycling and walking projects although Transportation Alternatives funding makes up approximately 2% of federal transportation funds. This means that in most states, unused Transportation Alternatives funds are vulnerable to being rescinded. The resources listed below explain what rescissions are, why they happen, and how bicycle and pedestrian advocates can ensure that rescissions do not disproportionately impact the availability of funding for bicycling and walking projects.