Funding Opportunities

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. Currently, ATP Cycle 4 Call for Projects is accepting applications for FY 2019, and is expected to include approximately $440M in ATP funding from federal, State SB1, and SHA funding. ATP Cycle 4 will provide four years of funding and the deadline is Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is a public service program that occasionally provides assistance on construction projects. The CCC may be written into grant applications as a project partner. In order to utilize CCC labor, project sites must be public land or publicly-accessible. CCC labor will not perform regular maintenance, but will perform annual maintenance, such as the opening of trails in the spring.
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 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.

Caltrans Transportation Planning Grant Program provides two grants for bicycle and pedestrian project planning and construction.

  • The Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant will allocate $25M to support transportation planning projects that identify and address mobility deficiencies in multi-modal transportation systems, exemplify programmed system improvements, and encourage local and regional collaboration to achieve Caltrans mission and Grant Program Objectives.
  • The Adaptation Planning Grant will allocate $6M to encourage local and regional efforts to improve California’s transportation systems, as a way to protect against climate change impacts such as wildfires, droughts, and landslides. For more information, review FY 2018/2019 Grant Applications Guides: Sustainable and Adaptation. Application will be released August 2018, and the deadline is Friday, October 19, 2018
Cool California Funding Wizard, 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. See the 2018 project guidelines here. Application deadline is Friday, June 22, 2018 at 5 PM.

Caltrans Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is one of the core federal-aid programs under Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST). HSIP focuses on reducing traffic-injuries and fatalities on all public roads, including tribal land and non-state-owned public roads. Projects must improve the safety of road users on any public road, publicly owned bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail, or on tribal lands. Applicants must be a city, a county, or a tribal government federally recognized within California. The maximum federal HSIP reimbursement amount for a single project is $10 million, and the minimum federal reimbursement for any single HSIP project is $100,000. All proposed projects must lead to and complete the construction of safety improvements, and must be consistent with California's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). Review HSIP Cycle 9 Call for Projects guideline. HSIP Cycle 9 Call for Projects application due date is Friday, August, 31, 2018. 

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.

  • FY 2018 Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP): Under LWCF, ORLP provides grants to acquire and/or develop public lands for outdoor recreation purposes. Specifically, projects must target “urbanized areas”  defined in Census Bureau, as a population of 50,000 or more people. Projects must also be located in or directly to neighborhoods that are under resourced of parks and recreation services. Application deadline is Friday, July 6, 2018.
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.

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. Read 2018 SHOPP  here.

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP):  To be included in the STIP, projects must be identified either in the Inter-regional Transportation Improvement Plan (ITIP), which is prepared by Caltrans, or in the Regional Transportation Improvement Plan (RTIP). Bicycle and pedestrian projects are eligible for inclusion. Caltrans updates the STIP every two years. SAFETEA-LU, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, is the primary federal funding source for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Caltrans, the State Resources Agency and regional planning agencies administer SAFETEA-LU funding. Most, but not all of these funding programs emphasize transportation modes and purposes that reduce auto trips and provide inter-modal connections. SAFETEA-LU programs require a local match of between zero percent and 20 percent. SAFETEA-LU funds primarily capital improvements and safety and education programs that relate to the surface transportation system. To be eligible for Federal transportation funds, States are required to develop a State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and update it at least every four years. A STIP is a multi-year capital improvement program of transportation projects that coordinates transportation-related capital improvements planned by metropolitan planning organizations and the state. California Transportation Commission (CTC) 2018 STIP Guidelines and Chapter 23 revisions pending).

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). Proposals are due Friday, June 29 and full applications are due Friday, August 10, 2018.
LOCAL SOURCES
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 through. 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. For more information, review LTP Cycle 5 Guidelines here. MTC establishes new guidelines for each cycle of LTP grants.
  • 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. For more information, review FY 2018/19 PASS Guidelines.
  • 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. 

  • Transportation Fund for Clean Air Regional Funding (TFCA)- Fiscal Tear Ending 2019: projects must result in vehicle emission reduction and must conform to the provisions of the California Health and Safety Code (HSC) sections 44220 et seq. The minimum grant amount is $10,000 per project, and the maximum grant amount varies. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served, or competitive basis. Eligible project categories include trip reduction projects (for public entities only), clean air vehicles and infrastructure projects (for all entities), bicycle facilities projects (for public entities only). The grant guidelines is currently in process of revision. Review the most updated draft proposal here

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.

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. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 16, 2018.
  • 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. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 23, 2018.

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.

  • Community Assistance in Conservation and Outdoor RecreationThe National Park Service provides free, on-location facilitation, and planning expertise for communities interested in implementing change in local recreation facilities.Whether it’s an idea to expand a bike path, water trail, or park, National Park Service can provide consultation for specific needs of a community. Project applicants may be state and local agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations, or citizen groups. Applications are due Saturday, June 30, 2018.
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.