The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was authorized by the Federal transportation funding Act - the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that was signed into law on July 6, 2012. The Transportation Alternatives Program redefines the former Transportation Enhancements (TE) activities and consolidates these eligibilities with the Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails Programs. The Transportation Enhancements program was originally authorized in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and continued through two successive laws TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU. The Transportation Alternatives program builds upon the legacy of the TE program by expanding travel choices, strengthening the local economy, improving the quality of life, and protecting the environment. The most recent Transportation Funding Act, Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act continues funding TAP through 2020.
Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) projects are federally-funded community-based projects that expand travel choices and improve the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure.
The Transportation Alternatives program is a part of the Federal-aid Highway Program. Although the program is a "grant" program under Federal regulation, is not an "up-front" grant program and funds are available only on a reimbursement basis. Only after a project has been approved by the State Department of Transportation or Metropolitan Planning Organization and the FHWA division office, can costs become eligible for reimbursement. Costs must be incurred after FHWA division office project approval, or they are not eligible for reimbursement.
The divisions for the population-based suballocation are:
|TMAs Target Allocations|
|Area||Target Federal Allocation|
The following eligibilities are authorized in FAST for the Transportation Alternatives Program and by the SCDOT Commission:
FAST authorizes the following entities to apply for Transportation Alternatives Funding:
Only certain costs are eligible for reimbursement through the Transportation Alternatives program. An obligation occurs when a project is approved and a project agreement is executed between the Federal government (FHWA division offices) and the State. Although considerable time and money may have already been spent developing a project, an obligation marks the beginning of project costs which are eligible for reimbursement. Any design and feasibility studies conducted prior to receipt of a Notice to Proceed are not eligible.
After obligation many project specific costs are eligible. Preliminary and final engineering work including project development, environmental work, cost estimates, and construction plans are eligible after approval is received by the administering agency. Utility relocations, construction engineering, and construction costs would also be eligible. Right-of-way property rights required for TAP projects and the acquisition of this ROW may be an eligible expense. The acquisition of real property is subject to the federal Uniform Act.
The Federal government will pay for up to 80% of eligible project costs for a TAP project. A local match is required to pay for 20% or more of the remaining project costs.
The applicant should make clear during the application process if the project would be administered by SCDOT or administered through the Local Public Agency (LPA) process and if so, what the duties of the local agency are.
Applications are accepted year round. FAST requires that States and MPOs in the designated transportation management areas use a competitive process for eligible entities to submit Transportation Alternatives projects. It is important for potential applicants to understand what makes a project competitive for funding. It is recommended that potential applicants contact a TAP coordinator at 803-737-1952 to discuss the proposed project prior to completing an application. Staff is available to assist by providing more information on the program, guidance on competitive projects, and how to best develop a competitive application. The TAP application and program guidance are available below.