Historic Preservation & Rehabilitation of Historic Transportation Facilities
The federal Transportation Alternatives (TA) program funds 10 different types of transportation-related activities. The Historic preservation and rehabilitation activity, communities rehabilitate and restore transportation facilities significant to the history of transportation in America. These rehabilitated facilities help to educate the public and to give communities a unique sense of character that attracts tourists and generates a vibrant economic life. Since the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program began in 1992, approximately 17 percent of available TE/TA funds have been programmed for historic preservation and rehabilitation projects.
Working within Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidelines, each state Department of Transportation (DOT) determines the eligibility of TA projects for funding. Examples of projects that may be considered eligible include:
► Restoration and reuse of historic buildings with strong link to transportation history;
► Restoration and reuse of historic buildings for transportation related purposes;
► Interpretive displays at historic sites;
► Access improvements to historic sites and buildings;
► Restoration of railroad depots, bus stations, and lighthouses;
► Rehabilitation of rail trestles, tunnels, bridges, and canals.
TA funds may not be used for the sole purpose of replicating a historic building. Funds apportioned through MAP-21 (effective October 1, 2012) cannot be used for the operation of historic sites; these projects may still be eligible using funds apportioned in previous years through SAFETEA-LU.
Examples of Successful Projects
The interior of Union Station.
|Union Station Tampa, Florida. In 1912, three railroad companies contributed to the building of one central rail station, Tampa's Union Station. The Italian Renaissance Revival style station was listed on the National Register in 1974. Feasibility studies determined that a renovated station could be a success if it was developed into a multi-modal transportation facility. Enhancements funds helped pay for the restoration of the building, including new plumbing, wiring, and ADA codes and requirements. The renovated station has reestablished Amtrak service--which had originally operated in the station-- as well as bus, taxi, and trolley service. The TE funded restoration of Union Station has spurred redevelopment in surrounding areas, including plans for future Enhancements projects.|
The Hale Bridge has helped travelers cross the Wapsipinicon River in Iowa since 1879. Damaged by floods in 1993, the bridge was closed to traffic in 1997. However, the bridge was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 as the longest-standing bowstring arch bridge in Iowa. In 2003, the bridge was moved to storage by a planning group composed of representatives from the state DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, Jones County, the Hale area, and the state historical society. After a three-year restoration, the bridge was relocated 12 miles by air thanks to the Iowa Army National Guard, to Wapsipinicon State Park, where it serves as a pedestrian bridge.
The move and the restoration were paid for in part with a Transportation Enhancements grant of $159,000.
A Chinook in flight with one of the bridge spans.
Visit http://trade.railstotrails.org/project_examples for additional project examples.
Projects that use TA funds must qualify as one or more of the 10 designated activities and be related to surface transportation in order to meet basic federal eligibility requirements. Important steps to consider when proceeding with a project in this category:
► Private sponsors should have a public co-sponsor to insure the continued responsibility on the part of the public agency for the project. Sponsors should plan for the future use and maintenance of the property in their proposal.
► A legal document developed in conjunction with the state FHWA division office should capture the protection of property rights for the use of a facility for a specific time period. The period of public access to the property should be commensurate with the expenditure of TE funds.
► Project sponsors should coordinate with appropriate historic agencies (e.g. State Historic Preservation Offices) to help assure that protective language is included in any agreement before the project is authorized for funding.
► If part of a facility is to be leased for a fee, federal funds should be used only for the portion of the facility that will be open to the public.
Visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/guidance/guidetap.cfm for a full copy of the FHWA TA Guidance.
Most states require TA project sponsors to provide at least 20 percent of project costs, also referred to as matching funds. In many states, the value of donated property, materials and services, the labor of state and local government employees and the costs of preliminary engineering may count towards the matching requirement. Federal, non-DOT funds can often be used as matching funds. Check with your state TA manager whether these innovative financing options are available in your state. Additional funds for this activity may come from state agencies, local governments, foundations, nonprofit organizations or other federal agencies.
Visit http://trade.railstotrails.org/funding_sources for more suggestions on potential funding sources.
► FHWA Historic Preservation and Archaeology Program: http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/histpres/index.asp
► National Trust for Historic Preservation: http://www.preservationnation.org/ or 202-588-6000
► Historic Roads: http://www.historicroads.org/
► Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: http://www.achp.gov or 202-517-0200
► To get in touch with your state historic preservation offices http://grants.cr.nps.gov/Shpos/SHPO_Search.cfm
To Get Started
Inquiries about the TA application process should be directed to the TA manager at your state DOT.
Visit http://trade.railstotrails.org/contact for TA manager contact information.