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Transportation Alternatives Data Exchange (TrADE)

TA Basics

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Funding for the TA program, which includes what was formerly the Transportation Enhancements activities, the Recreational Trails Program, and the Safe Routes to Schools Program, comes from a national reservation of funds pdf icon. These funds are proportionally disbursed to states based on apportionments in fiscal year 2009 of SAFETEA-LU.

At the state level, funding for the Recreational Trails Program is then set aside, based once again on FY 2009 funding levels, to be administered by an agency designated by the governor. The remaining TA funds are split in half. One half is suballocated based on population to designated areas of different sizes. The other half is available for use anywhere in the state.

For funds suballocated to areas with a population greater than 200,000 (known as Transportation Management Areas (TMAs)), the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) with jurisdiction in that area administers a competitive processes to allow eligible entities to submit projects for funding. For all other areas, and for statewide funds, the state DOT administers a parallel process. In both cases, the eligible entities are:

  • local governments
  • regional transportation authorities
  • transit agencies
  • natural resource or public land agencies
  • school districts, local education agencies, or schools
  • tribal governments
  • any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for or oversight of transportation or recreational trails (other than a metropolitan planning organization or a State agency) that the State determines to be eligible.

The federal government provides funds for the TA program through reimbursement. That is, the project sponsor is expected, in most cases, to pay the full cost of the project up front and will be later reimbursed by the federal government through the state department of transportation (DOT). Generally, the federal government will reimburse up to 80 percent of a TA project cost. Not all types of project expenses are reimbursable, however. Reimbursable costs vary from state to state but usually include: project feasibility, planning and engineering plans, environmental reviews, land acquisition and construction.

The remaining 20 percent of the project cost is generally the responsibility of the project sponsor. The sponsor may generate these "matching funds" from a variety of sources. The value of donated materials, services and land; funds from other state or non-DOT federal programs; and the value of local and state government services. Project sponsors may begin research on sources of matching funds and other project funds with the following list of additional funding sources.

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