Funding Opportunities

OUTSIDE SOURCES

Transportation For America: Smart Cities Collaborative Year Three

Transportation for America (T4A) launched the Smart Cities Collaborative to build a forum for collaboration and provide direct technical assistance to a number of leading-edge cities advancing smart mobility policies and projects. The Smart Cities Collaborative Year Three grant provides technical assistance to three cities interested in learning about improving curb management strategies to bolster broader regional goals, make the transportation system operate more efficiently, and serve the community more equitably. Applications closed October 20, 2019. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

America Walks 2019 Community Change Grant

America Walks, partners of the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, Lyft, WalkBoston, and other generous sponsors, are excited to announce another round of the Community Change Grant program. This program will award grantees $1,500.00 in community stipends for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work, and play. Funded projects must demonstrate that they will show increased physical activity and active transportation in a specific community, work to engage people and organizations new to the efforts of walking and walkability, and demonstrate a culture of inclusive health. Projects will create healthy, active, and engaged communities that support walking as transportation, health, and recreation. Applications closed November 8, 2019. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities

Deadline: December 16, 2019 | Applications open November 4, 2019.

Timeline: February - September 2020

With generous funding from The JPB Foundation, the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program will begin accepting applications on November 4, 2019 for awards for seven grantee communities in 2020. The program provides tailored technical assistance for seven communities to develop Safe Routes to Parks action plans and awards $12,500 to each community to begin implementation of those plans. The Safe Routes to Parks action plans will be based upon the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework, developed in 2017 through the collaborative efforts of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Recreation and Parks Association. 

STATE SOURCES

The Active Transportation Program (ATP) consists of federal and state transportation programs including the Bicycle Transportation Program (BTA), Safe Routes to School (SR2S), and Transportation Alternatives Programs (TAP). The purpose of ATP is to encourage increased modes of active transportation such as walking and biking. Learn more about the program in the ATP Fact Sheet. The Cycle 5 Call for Projects is anticipated to be announced by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in Spring 2020. Cycle 5 is expected to include about $440M in ATP funding made up of Federal funding, State SB1 and State Highway Account (SHA) funding.

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is a public service program that occasionally provides assistance on construction projects. The CCC administers several programs and grants to conserve, restore and enhance California’s natural resources. Projects can include watershed protection, wildland fire prevention and non-motorized transportation improvements. Learn more about funding opportunities for your project.
California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grants are supported by Federal funding under the National Highway Safety Act and SAFETEA-LU. In California, the grants are administered by the Office of Traffic Safety. Grants are used to establish new traffic safety programs, expand ongoing programs or address deficiencies in current programs. Pedestrian and bicycle safety is included in the list of traffic safety priority areas. Eligible grantees are governmental agencies, state colleges, state universities, local city and county government agencies, school districts, fire departments, and public emergency services providers. Grant funding cannot replace existing program expenditures, nor can traffic safety funds be used for program maintenance, research, rehabilitation, or construction. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and priority is given to agencies with the greatest need. Evaluation criteria to assess need include potential traffic safety impact, collision statistics and rankings, seriousness of problems, and performance on previous OTS grants. There is no maximum cap to the amount requested, but all items in the proposal must be justified to meet the objectives of the proposal. FFY 2021 Grant Application Workshops are being held from December 10th-19th in Southern California, Sacramento and the Bay Area, and in the Central Valley. Visit here to learn more about workshop times, locations, and registration details. The FFY 2021 applications will be available in December of 2019.

Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants: Caltrans has announced the FY 2020-21 Sustainable Transportation Grant Application Guide and Call-for-Applications. These grants include:

  • Sustainable Communities Grants ($29.5 million) to encourage local and regional planning that furthers state goals, including, but not limited to, the goals and best practices cited in the Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines adopted by the California Transportation Commission.
  • Strategic Partnerships Grants ($4.5 million) to identify and address statewide, interregional, or regional transportation deficiencies on the State highway system in partnership with Caltrans. The transit component that will fund planning projects that address multimodal transportation deficiencies with a focus on transit.

Please contact the Office of Regional Planning to obtain the FY 2020-21 Grant Application Guide, application forms, and required templates. Applications closed October 17, 2019. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

The Funding Wizard is a searchable database to locate funding across state and federal agencies for reducing the impacts of climate change and supporting sustainable communities. 
Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program provides grant opportunities for projects that indirectly mitigate environmental impacts of new transportation facilities. Projects should fall into one of the following three categories: urban forestry, resource lands, or mitigation projects beyond the scope of the lead agency. Funds are available for land acquisition and construction. The local Caltrans District must support the project. The solicitation for the 2020 EEM Program is anticipated in April 2020.

Caltrans Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST) was signed into law on December 4, 2015. Under FAST, the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), codified as Section 148 of Title 23, United States Code (23 U.S.C §148), is a core federal-aid program to States for the purpose of achieving a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The Division of Local Assistance (DLA) manages California's local agency share of HSIP funds. California's Local HSIP focuses on infrastructure projects with nationally recognized crash reduction factors (CRFs). Local HSIP projects must be identified on the basis of crash experience, crash potential, crash rate, or other data-supported means. Currently there are three different funding programs:

  • Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) (no current call for projects)
  • Systemic Safety Analysis Report Program (SSARP) (no current call for projects)
  • Local Roadway Safety Plan (LRSP) Program (Caltrans announced a Call for LRSP Applications on October 8, 2019).

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federally funded program, run through the National Park Service that provides grants for planning and acquiring outdoor recreation areas and facilities, including trails. The application deadline for the next competitive cycle is February 3, 2020.

The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act allows any county, city, special district, school district, or joint powers of authority to establish a Community Facility Districts (CFD) for the purpose of selling tax-exempt bonds to fund public improvements within that district.
The National Safety Council's Road to Zero Coalition has now closed applications for the 2019 Safe System Innovation Grants. Grants are open to organizations with innovative approaches to making roadways safer and eliminating preventable roadway deaths. Applicants must clearly explain how their programs will reduce motor-vehicle crashes, set a time frame for the reduction, outline how the program will be evaluated and detail how the organization intends to reach its target audience, among other elements. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

State Highway Operations & Protection Program (SHOPP) is a Caltrans funding source with the purpose of maintaining and preserving the investment in the State Highway System and supporting infrastructure. Projects typically fall into the following categories: collision reduction, major damage restoration, bridge preservation, roadway preservation, roadside preservation, mobility enhancement, and preservation of other transportation facilities related to the state highway system. In the past, SHOPP funds have been used to construct bicycle and pedestrian projects, including curb ramps, overcrossings, bike paths, sidewalks, and signal upgrades to meet ADA requirements. Jurisdictions work with Caltrans’ districts to have projects placed on the SHOPP list. No open funding opportunities at this time.

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP): The STIP is a multi-year capital improvement program of transportation projects on and off the State Highway System, funded with revenues from the Transportation Investment Fund and other funding sources. STIP programming generally occurs every two years. The programming cycle begins with the release of a proposed fund estimate in July of odd-numbered years, followed by California Transportation Commission (CTC) adoption of the fund estimate in August (odd years). The fund estimate serves to identify the amount of new funds available for the programming of transportation projects. Once the fund estimate is adopted, Caltrans and the regional planning agencies prepare transportation improvement plans for submittal by December 15th (odd years). Caltrans prepare the Interregional Transportation Improvement Plan (ITIP) and regional agencies prepare Regional Transportation Improvement Plans (RTIPs). Public hearings are held in January (even years) in both northern and southern California. The STIP is adopted by the CTC by April (even years). The 2020 STIP Schedule and 2020 Draft ITIP are available here.

Wildlife Conservation Board Public Access Program provides grants to public agencies and non-profit groups and organizations in California. The focus of the Board’s grant funding program is the acquisition of lands or improvements that preserve wildlife habitat or provide recreational access for hunting, fishing, or other wildlife-oriented activities. Projects eligible for funding include interpretive trails, river access, and trailhead parking areas. The State of California must have a proprietary interest in the project. Local agencies are generally responsible for the planning and engineering phases of each project.

  • California Public Access ProgramFunding for competitive grants will focus on creating opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation experiences. Projects in the past included the construction of public access facilities such as fishing piers, parking and restrooms, and trails. Projects must be compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The 2020 Proposal Solicitation Notice process will open in spring 2020. If you would like to discuss a potential project please contact the Public Access Program Manager.

AARP Community Challenge supplies small grants to nonprofits, government agencies and other groups intending to improve housing, transportation, smart cities and other community elements in short-term, community-based projects. Projects can encourage healthy, safe, inclusive communities by reimagining streets for pedestrians, wheelchair users, cyclists, transit-riders and motorists of all ages and abilities. 

Applications for the 2019 AARP Community Challenge are now closed. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

The FTA 5310 Program aims to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation services and expanding the transportation mobility options available. The FTA 5310 Program provides grant funds for:

  • Public transportation projects planned, designed and carried out to meet the needs of seniors and individuals with disablities when public transportation is lacking;
  • Public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • Public transportation projects that improve access to fixed-route service and decrease reliance on complementary paratransit; and 
  • Alternatives to public transportation projects that assist seniors and individuals with disabilities with transportation. 

Applications are now closed for the FTA 5310 Call for Projects in 2019. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.

LOCAL SOURCES
Clif Bar Family Foundation has a Small Grants Program that provides funds for general organizational support as well as funding for specific projects. Applications are reviewed three times a year; the deadlines are the 1st of February, June, and October. Grants awarded during a particular cycle will be announced at the beginning of the following cycle. 

Priority is given to applicants that address their funding priorities from a holistic perspective: Protect Earth's beauty and bounty; Create a robust, healthy food system; Increase opportunities for outdoor activity; Reduce environmental health hazards; and Build stronger communities. The next small grants deadline is February 1, 2020.

Community Development Block Grants fund projects and programs that develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. Federal Community Development Block Grant Grantees may use CDBG funds for activities that include (but are not limited to) acquiring real property; building public facilities and improvements, such as streets, sidewalks, and recreational facilities; and planning and administrative expenses, such as costs related to developing a consolidated plan and managing CDBG funds. The state makes funds available to eligible agencies (cities and counties) through a variety of different grant types. Grantees enter into a contract with the state.

Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP)  was established by California State Statute utilizing Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) funds that are identified in Section 133 of Title 23 of the UnitedStates Code. This program promotes flexibility in State and local transportation decisions and provides flexible funding to best address State and local transportation needs.

San Diego: San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors allocates federal funds through several grant programs. Projects generally indirectly or directly enhance San Diego's quality of life. Grants are available for a variety of projects including infrastructure safety and improvement, habitat management, and specialized transportation services for senior and disabled populations. There are currently three active grant programs: Smart Growth Incentive and Active Transportation, TransNet Environmental Mitigation, and Specialized Transportation. 

San Francisco Bay Area: 

Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine Bay Area counties.

  • The second round of the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program will fund approximately $916 million from 2017-18 through 2021-22. The Regional Program division will receive $530 million of five years, and should focus on transit priorities (Clipper and BART Car Replacement),Climate Initiatives, and affordable housing pilot program. The County Program of OBAG will support local priorities such as street ad road maintenance and beautification, Safe Routes to School projects, and active transportation improvements. 
  • Priority Development Areas (PDA) Planning Program funds plans specific to land use of public transit hubs and rail corridors across the nine Bay Area counties. Examples of eligible projects include emphasis on increasing active transportation multimodal connections, carpooling and carsharing usage, and transit ridership. 
  • Transportation Development Act Article 3 (TDA 3) provides funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects annually. TDA  generates funding through a quarter-cent sales tax to support transportation projects including bus and rail projects, special transit services for disabled riders, and bicycle facilities. MTC allows each of the nine counties to determine how to use two percent of allocated TDA funds. Some counties competitively select projects while some countries disseminate funds based on population count. 
  • Lifeline Transportation Program (LTP is designed to improve mobility for low-income residents across the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The goal is of LTP is to address transportation gaps or barriers identified in community-based transportation plans. Applications are now closed for 2019. Stay tuned for future funding opportunity details.
  • Program for Arterial System Synchronization (PASS) delivers financial and technical assistance to cities and counties to enhance traffic signal synchronization. Signal coordination projects include signal-timing priority, traffic-responsive timing plans, and "flush" plans for managing traffic incidents. 
  • OneBayArea: Climate Initiatives Program aims to reduce the carbon footprint from Bay Area transportation. The program helps meet emissions-reduction goals set by state law. Since 2009, MTC has invested $80M in innovative solutions to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Some solutions include car sharing and vanpooling programs, commuter benefits programs, and grant funding to support climate mitigation projects. 

 The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) provides funding for Bay Area municipalities, government agencies, and public educational institutions. The Air District provides funding to public agencies for trip reduction, bike parking and bike-way expansion, and clean air vehicle projects. 

  • Vehicle Trip Reduction Grant Programis currently accepting applications. Eligible projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted.

    As of November 2019, approximately $3 million in funding is available for award to public agencies through the Vehicle Trip Reduction Grant Program, for transportation services (including first- and last-mile connection) and bicycle infrastructure projects that will reduce vehicle trips.

    This program is funded through the Air District’s Transportation Fund for Clean Air Regional Fund, which provides grants to improve air quality within the nine-county Bay Area by reducing emissions of criteria pollutants from on-road vehicles. 

    Applicants must attend at least one pre-application workshop before submitting an application. Each workshop will be held online via webinar and is limited to 100 attendees. Registration is required. The workshops will cover the Vehicle Trip Reduction Grant Program requirements, applicant eligibility, project eligibility, the application process, and evaluation criteria. The following workshop has been scheduled: Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 3-4 PM PST (Register)

San Mateo County:

  • Under Measure A, three percent of all sales tax revenues is dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian projects. 
  • San Mateo: Transportation Demand Management Agency is a public agency focused on reducing single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuting in the San Mateo County. The agency provides information and commute planning alternatives, employer incentive programs and cross-collaboration with city transit. For more information, review the Resources page here.

Sonoma County: Under Measure M, four percent of its sales tax revenue to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects Program. The overall goal of these construction projects is to increase overall safety, and provide safe routes to school and to transit.

Los Angeles: 

  • Great Streets Challenge

    The Great Streets Challenge is a program of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative to envision, collaborate on, and build transformative street infrastructure projects. The Great Streets Challenge aims to:

    • Build strong partnerships between communities and the City of Los Angeles.

    • Empower communities to develop a vision to transform their corridors.

    • Design streets with a community’s vision of how to improve our neighborhoods for all people.

    • Implement projects that transform our streets into safe, accessible, and vibrant public spaces in alignment with adopted City policies.

Federally-Administered Funding

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards more than $4 billion in grant funding to a plethora of local, regional, and state projects. In addition to EPA's Office if Sustainable Community, the federal agency is committed to developing smart growth strategies that help communities expand economic opportunity and infrastructure, while protecting human health and the environment. 

Other federal funding opportunities: 

  • Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) Grants for Research Fellowship (GRF) provides funding for Masters or Doctoral students in transportation-related disciplines. The funding agency is Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration. Applications closed for 2019. Stay tuned for information on future funding opportunities.
  • Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning awards 35 grants to support comprehensive planning that supports ridership, multi-modal connectivity and accessibility, and increased transit access for pedestrians and bikers. The funding agency is Department of Transportation/Federal Transit Administration. Applications closed for 2019. Stay tuned for information on future funding opportunities.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) allocates funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Examples of trail uses include hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, and other non-motorized and motorized uses. The State Department of Parks and Recreation administers RTP funds in California. A minimum 12 percent of local match is required. RTP projects must be ADA-compliant and may be used for:

  • Maintenance and restoration of existing trails
  • Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment
  • Construction of new trails, including unpaved trails
  • Acquisition of easements or property for trails
  • State-administrative costs related to this program (limited to seven percent of a State's funds)
  • Operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails (limited to five percent of a State's funds). 

The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program is a National Parks Service program that provides technical assistance via direct staff involvement, to establish and restore greenways, rivers, trails, watersheds and open space. It provides only for planning assistance—there are no implementation monies available. Projects are prioritized for assistance based upon criteria that include conserving significant community resources, fostering cooperation between agencies, serving a large number of users, encouraging public involvement in planning and implementation and focusing on lasting accomplishments.

CONCEPTUAL APPROACHES TO FUNDING 
Integration into Larger Projects “Routine accommodation” policies at Caltrans and MTC require agencies to design, construct, operate, and maintain transportation facilities using best practices for pedestrians and bicyclists. Local jurisdictions can begin to expect that some portion of pedestrian and bicyclist project costs, when they are built as part of larger transportation projects, will be covered in project construction budgets.
New Construction Future construction projects are a means of providing sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities. To ensure that roadway construction projects provide facilities where needed and feasible, it is important that an effective review process be in place so that new roads meet the counties’ and cities’ standards and guidelines for the development of sidewalks and pedestrian facilities. A developer may also attempt to reduce the number of trips (and hence impacts and cost) by paying for on- and off-site bicycle and pedestrian improvements designed to encourage residents, employees and visitors to the new development to walk rather than drive.
Parks and Recreation  Funds are generally derived from property and sales taxes and some fee revenues, and they are sometimes used directly for pathway or pathway-related facilities, including bathrooms, pocket parks, lighting, parking, and landscaping.
Special Improvement Districts Counties and cities may establish special improvement districts to provide funding for specified public improvement projects within the designated district. Business Improvement Districts and Special Assessment Districts are example of special improvement districts.