Transportation Alternatives Program Overview

Safe Routes to School is one of the categories of the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).  The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administers TAP in Michigan, where regional trail connections and safe routes to school are among the highest priorities for funding.

Rail-Trail South of Pelston at Johnson Rd with beautiful tall trees around
Rail-Trail South of Pelston at Johnson Rd., Emmet County

TAP is a competitive grant program that uses federal transportation funds designated by Congress for specific activities that enhance the intermodal transportation system and provide safe alternative transportation options.

Projects are selected on a competitive basis for funding in a future fiscal year.  Competitiveness is primarily established by project concept and project constructability.

Utica to Shelby Trail surrounded by beautiful tall trees
Utica to Shelby Trail

Project Concept
Two types of highly competitive concepts are projects that develop regional trails and projects that make walking/biking routes to school safer.

Project Constructability
Applications are reviewed by a team of technical experts to gauge the ability of the proposed projects to be constructed using all current federal and state standards, constructed on time, and constructed on budget.  The items that typically are most important for this review are:

  • High level of positive public involvement
  • Reasonable cost estimate (based on similar recent federal aid projects)
  • Industry design standards used without exceptions
  • Demonstrated high likelihood of all permits to be secured
  • Demonstrated high level of coordination with all necessary agencies
Hart-Montague Trail State Park construction between Shelby and Mears surround with beautiful tall trees in fall
Hart-Montague Trail State Park construction between Shelby and Mears.

Potential trail applicants should contact an MDOT Grant Coordinator to discuss a proposed project before beginning a grant application. Contact us.

Applications are accepted several times per year.  Funding decisions are made for a future fiscal year.  The next application due date is October 24, 2018, for projects to be constructed in 2020 or later.  For that review cycle, contact with an MDOT Grant Coordinator should be made in June or July, 2018, to give a potential applicant adequate time to assemble a strong, competitive application.

To see the 2017 TAP Accomplishments, click here.

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