Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)                            



On July 6, 2012, the new transportation bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”  (MAP-21) was signed into law. This two-year transportation bill became effective Oct. 1, 2012, and included significant changes to the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program set forth in SAFETEA-LU. MAP-21 established  the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)  which combined several programs including many of the prior Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities, the Recreational Trails program and the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

In SAFETEA-LU, there were 12 eligible transportation enhancement activities. Under MAP-21, there are four defined eligible activities for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), including one called “transportation alternatives,” which replaces the 12 prior transportation enhancement activities with ten qualifying eligibilities.

In addition to eliminating some previously eligible transportation enhancement activities, modifications were made that more narrowly define the types of projects that qualify for funding. The overall theme of the revisions appears to expand the eligibilities from strictly enhancing the transportation system to include planning, construction and design related to compliance with existing federal regulations. 

Not only did MAP-21 change the eligible activities, it also made changes in how the federal funds will be distributed. MAP-21 states that once funds are taken off the top to fund the Recreational Trails Program, the remaining TAP funds will be split, with 50 percent of these remaining funds being distributed based on population and 50 percent being distributed anywhere statewide.  

MAP-21 also provides that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in the four identified Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) will make project selections in their area. The “MPO and TMA Listing” is below.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) adopted an updated TA Program Policy on July 17, 2013 to guide future fiscal year selections.

Next application cycle - Deadline Nov. 1, 2015 (Applications will be accepted through COB Nov. 2, 2015 since the 1st falls on Sunday)

Transportation Alternatives Program Information

Transportation Enhancement ProgramProgram Allocations

Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program                

The TE Program was replaced by the TAP  with the passage of MAP-21 in June 2012, but the funding approved under prior legislation will continue to be guided by the prior Transportation Enhancement program guidelines.  

Existing TE projects that still qualify under the TAP eligibilities – sidewalks, trails, historic depots, etc. – can apply for TAP funding.  

For those existing projects that no longer qualify under TAP eligibilities – historic mills, transportation museums, historic / scenic driving tours, etc. – the only possibility of receiving additional funds from this program would be any de-allocated funds from cancelled or completed projects.  

These requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Program History

The Transportation Enhancement Program was created with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991.  With this act, Congress required each state to set aside 10 percent of its Surface Transportation Program funds for transportation enhancement projects.

This program offered broad opportunities and federal funding for creative projects that integrated transportation into our communities and environment. The legislation designated 12 activities meant to improve non-motorized transportation, enhance the public’s traveling experience, revitalize communities, and improve the quality of life.

This program continued with enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998 and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005. SAFETEA-LU expired Sept. 30, 2009 and through a series of continuing resolutions, Congress extended the program funding through Sept. 30, 2012.

 Note: All files are in Adobe PDF format  pdfs unless noted.

Transportation Enhancement Program Information

Project Sponsor Workshop Presentations

Program Allocations

Contact Us:

Pam Liston 804-786-2734
Virginia Department of Transportation
Local Assistance Division
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Fax:  804-371-0847


Page last modified: Aug. 21, 2015