Navigating MAP-21: Are You Eligible?
No, we're not talking about whether you're eligible for a date -- though dinner with fellow cyclists is always a treat. We're talking about whether projects in your community are eligible to get funded under the new transportation bill, MAP-21.
As you know, Congress doesn't pick transportation projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation doesn't build them. All of the transportation work in the country is done by states and regions. That's why we've spent so much time talking about working with governors and state departments of transportation in these weekly e-mails.
But here's what Congress does do: it establishes funding programs and sets funding levels, basically determining what types of projects are eligible to be built with which pots of money.
They key word is eligible.
Bicycling and walking projects are broadly eligible in the majority of MAP-21 funding programs, just as they were under the previous transportation bills. These include programs to improve road safety (the Highway Safety Improvement Program, HSIP), reduce congestion and air pollution (the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, CMAQ), and broad and flexible programs, like the Surface Transportation Program (STP). Put those three together and there are huge opportunities for bicycling and walking investments.
But advocates and transportation agencies sometimes forget that. We zero in on more targeted programs that specifically address biking and walking -- like Transportation Alternatives. But focusing on just this one program is like doing all of your shoe shopping at specialty stores without checking out what's available online and at department stores, too.
People interested in bicycling and walking cannot afford to rely on just one source. It's time to follow the lead of regions like Chicago and Seattle, which have been tapping into the full range of program eligibility for years, and Delaware, which has recently cracked into CMAQ for the first time.
Our next webinar in our Navigating MAP-21 series will discuss eligibility under MAP-21 and share examples of how it's been leveraged for major investments in bicycling and walking. The webinar will be Wednesday, September 26 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Registration will open soon on our website.