Do You Have a Non-Motorized Transportation Project Coming Up In Wisconsin?

November 14, 2017

Here’s everything you need to know about WisDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

Your community may be able to take advantage of WisDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to fund up to 80% of bicycle or pedestrian improvements – including construction projects or planning.

What is the TAP?

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) provides funding for communities to expand their non-motorized travel choices, strengthen the local economy, improve quality of life and protect the environment.

The program is the result of the federal transportation initiative, “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or FAST Act. It was signed into law on December 4, 2015 and communities in Wisconsin can now take advantage of funding for projects.

Related Content: Why Your City Should Invest in Active Transportation: and How to Get Started

What kind of projects are eligible?

Nate Day, SEH senior planner, identifies the specific project criteria critical to receive funding. In his review of the 2018 TAP application process, he shares which projects are eligible:

  • Construction, planning and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities (bike and pedestrian)
  • Conversion and use of abandoned rail corridors for non-motorized users
  • Construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas
  • Safe Routes to School improvements
Safe Routes and bicycle path
Bicycle paths and Safe Routes to School projects are among those eligible for TAP funding.

Breaking down the numbers

WisDOT will fund up to 80 percent of eligible project costs, with the community or municipality responsible for the remaining 20 percent. Construction projects ideally should have a minimum estimate of $300,000 and planning projects should have a minimum projected cost of $50,000.

There will likely be between 25 and 30 projects statewide being funded.

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Three things to consider

  1. Construction dollars will likely not be available for a few years. If your project needs to get built in the next two years, TAP funding may not be the best option.
  2. Right of Way (ROW) acquisitions that utilize DOT dollars are often lengthy. If your project will include ROW acquisition or easements, start the project as soon as possible.
  3. Don’t forget the municipal resolution. This requires official application by the governing body prior to the submittal of the application.

What to do and when

Jeff Saxby, SEH engineer and TAP specialist, says communities looking to take advantage of funding from the TAP must submit applications by Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. This means they should start planning now. WisDOT hopes to announce TAP awards sometime in the summer of 2018. The department accepts applications every other year. The next application period is fall of 2019.

If your community is awarded TAP funding, it’s important to begin the project as soon as possible because construction projects must be under contract within four years of the date of the project award. This time frame is fixed by state law and cannot be changed by WisDOT.

It’s also important to remain patient. The DOT contracting process has changed recently, so maintaining an open dialogue with WisDOT representatives will be important to ensure your award proceeds into the contracting phases in a timely fashion.

Download the application here (application is the second bullet point, “2018-2022 Cycle Application”)

About the Experts

Nate Day

Nate Day specializes in unique funding opportunities to help communities with their long-range planning.
Contact Nate

Jeff Saxby

Jeff Saxby helps communities build projects that contribute to creating better places.
Contact Jeff

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