Federal Highway Administration interprets transpo bill; good news, bad news

The Federal Highway Administration issued guidance today to state departments of transportation on the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TA). The guidance helps interpret the federal transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century, for the agencies, providing specifics and resolving ambiguities in the legislative language. Today’s guidance is “interim,” the basics. We expect more comprehensive guidance to be issued later in the fall.

The TA guidance contains good news and bad news for bicyclists.

Good news:

  • Transportation Alternatives (TA) maintains local control over biking and walking funds, preserving the original intentions of Senators Cardin and Cochran.
    • There was some concern that the language could be interpreted to make state DOTs eligible for 50% of TA. This would have diminished local control over half of these essential funds. Fortunately, state DOTs remain ineligible for TA funding.
    • However, State DOTs and MPOs can partner with eligible entities to carry out a project. This increases flexibility for states and helps local governments get the help they need while maintaining local control.