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48 traffic flow measures and for transit projects. Eligible bi- and other agencies for funding decisions. MPO recipients cycle projects include trails, storage facilities, and market- program these planning funds through the Unified Planning ing programs. Work Program (UPWP). Decisions on SPR funds are typi- cally made at the state level. The preliminary estimates of bicycle project costs and benefits developed through appli- Other FHWA Programs cation of the guidelines can be valuable in conveying the relative merits of a project planning study for 3C PL and Other federal funding programs for which bicycle facili- SPR funds. ties are eligible provide much lower funding levels than TE and CMAQ and are more restricted in their use. Although NHS funding levels are comparable with overall STP fund- NON-FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES ing levels ($5.5 billion in FY 2003), use of the funds is lim- ited to roadways that are part of the interstate or national The federal government is not the only source for bicycle highway systems. There is no set aside for enhancements, funding. State and local governments all have the capacity to although up to 50% of NHS funds can be transferred to the spend general revenue funds or dedicated revenue on trans- CMAQ program. portation projects, including bicycle facilities. The processes The Federal Lands Highways Program receives approxi- for selecting projects can vary widely across state and local mately $700 million per year, all of which must be spent on governments. Although it is not possible to cover each project parkways, Indian reservation roads, or public lands roads. selection process in detail, the nature of the estimates gener- National Scenic Byways funds can only be applied to desig- ated through the guidelines is such that it should be applicable nated All-American roads or National Scenic Byways, and to any set of criteria or evaluation methods. funding levels are $25 million per year. The Recreational In addition to government funding for bicycle facilities, Trails program is funded at $50 million per year. States must some private and non-profit organizations provide grants spend at least 30% of their apportionment for this program on specifically for the development of bicycle facilities. Two recreational trails for motorized vehicles such as snowmobiles. examples of these grants are the Bikes Belong program and the Kodak American Greenways awards. Department of Interior--Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Bikes Belong Coalition Grants The LWCF program provides matching grants to states and In 1999, bicycle industry leaders founded this organization local governments for the acquisition and development of in Boulder, Colorado, with the mission of "putting more peo- public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, including bicy- ple on bikes more often." Bikes Belong grants are in amounts cle facilities. In FY 2004, $160 million was provided to the up to $10,000, with funding goals including increased bicy- states through this fund. States receive individual allocations cle ridership, leveraging additional funding, building political of LWCF grant funds based on a national formula (with state support, and promoting cycling. These guidelines can assist population being the most influential factor). Then states ini- an applicant in making the case that a project will increase tiate a statewide competition for the amount available. Proj- ridership and promote cycling. Bike paths, trails, and lanes ects are scored and ranked according to the project selection are among the facilities eligible for Bikes Belong grants, with criteria and successful applications are then forwarded to the non-profit organizations and public agencies (not individu- National Park Service for formal approval and obligation of als) being eligible grant recipients. The grant program has federal grant monies. The first step for potential applicants is strived to fund important and influential projects that lever- to contact the cooperating state office to find out about local age TEA-21 money and build momentum for bicycling. From application deadlines, state priorities and selection criteria, 1999 to 2002, Bikes Belong funded 53 projects for a total of and what kinds of documentation are required to justify a grant $530,000, with $460,000 in bicycle facility grants leveraging award. $246 million in federal funding in 23 states. Federal Planning Funds Kodak American Greenways Awards In addition to the federal capital funding sources described Since 1992, the Kodak American Greenways program has above, bicycle projects obtain federal planning funds. FHWA awarded nearly 500 groups across the nation with seed grants planning funds (3C PL) and State Planning and Research (SPR) to support the development of community-based, action- funds are two common sources for funding planning studies. oriented greenways projects. The program defines greenways Each state receives funding from FHWA based on an alloca- as "corridors of protected, public and private land established tion formula. The states then distribute 3C PL funds to MPOs along rivers, stream valleys, ridges, abandoned railroad cor-
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49 ridors, utility rights-of-way, canals, scenic roads, or other some DOTs and MPOs take steps to create a more transpar- linear features. They link recreational, cultural, and natural ent planning process with clearly defined criteria, the guide- features, provide pathways for people and wildlife, protect lines become an important tool for planners to refer to as their forests, wetlands, and grasslands, and improve the quality of proposed project undergoes MPO evaluation. life for everyone." In 2004, grants were awarded to 39 proj- ects. Although only one was specifically identified as a bicy- cle facility, many of the projects are multi-use trails that would Project Development accommodate bicycles, and bicycle trails are designated as an eligible grant project on the grant application. Grant applica- Transportation projects typically go through several phases tions are completed online, and provide several opportunities in planning and development. Simple projects, such as pur- for applicants to describe project benefits in detail. chase and installation of bike racks, would bypass most devel- opment phases and would likely be limited to minimal design, acquisition, and installation efforts. More complex projects Securing Federal Funding Through State such as a major regional bike path may require addressing and MPO Processes more of the phases described in the following steps to imple- mentation although it is expected that most facilities would As a condition of eligibility for federal funding, trans- require minimal comprehensive planning and fewer design portation projects must be included in a federally certified phases than major transportation projects. transportation planning process. In urban areas, MPOs are Information from application of these guidelines for market responsible for complying with federal planning requirements. demand and project benefits would likely remain unchanged In non-urban areas state DOTs are responsible for transporta- through the development process unless the scope of the proj- tion planning. ect were to change to provide a substantially different LOS to In accordance with the federal planning requirements, proj- the cyclist than that of the original proposal. Regional trans- ects proposed for federal highway capital funds like TE and portation system models are generally not designed to proj- CMAQ and the others previously described must be pro- ect bicycle market information in sufficient detail to improve grammed in a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). upon the estimates of facility use and benefits provided by The federal regulations require the submittal of TIPs on a bien- application of the guidelines. As project scope becomes bet- nial basis. Project planning is also eligible for federal funding. ter defined through the development process, more reliable Planning efforts must be included in the federally required project specific information on construction and real estate UPWP to be considered for funding. costs should become available. This more specific informa- Project sponsors attempting to finance a bicycle facility with tion should be used to update or replace the cost information CMAQ, TE, or other federal highway funds, need to first sub- in the guidelines as needed to make decisions on funding and mit their project to the state DOT or committee responsible programming the proposed project. for determining funding eligibility. Once project eligibility has been confirmed, sponsors must propose their project for fund- · Regional Planning--the regional planning process is ing through the TIP development process. In urbanized areas typically a comprehensive long-range (20-year horizon) UPWPs and TIPs are developed by MPOs, the body responsi- review of the region's transportation needs and goals ble for planning and programming all of the federal surface and identification of plans to meet those needs. The results transportation funds allocated to the urban area. Participation of the process are presented in the Regional Transporta- in the broader MPO planning and programming process is tion Plan (RTP). Regional bicycle program goals might helpful in advancing projects into the UPWP and TIP. be considered in such a process but specific bicycle facil- In non-urban areas of states, federal programming deci- ities would not likely be addressed other than as elements sions are the responsibility of the state DOT. Although there of a broadly described program. Information resulting are some states, such as Massachusetts, where regional bod- from application of the guidelines should be sufficient to ies in non-urban areas are still given the authority to priori- evaluate proposed bicycle facility projects, such as paths, tize eligible projects for CMAQ or TE funds, in most states in the RTP. both eligibility and prioritization are within the purview of · Alternatives Analysis/Corridor Studies--When projects the state DOT. are not well defined, area or corridor studies are con- Information resulting from the application of the guide- ducted to develop, evaluate, and define specific project lines provides preliminary estimates of project cost and iden- proposals. The product of this effort is typically identi- tifies project benefits to assist state DOTs in understanding a fication of a preferred project with design and con- new proposal's overall effectiveness particularly as it relates struction cost estimates developed to the conceptual/ to furthering achievement of air quality improvements. In schematic design (5 to 10%) level. This analysis is typ- addition, it permits evaluators to better assess the proposed ically reserved for major projects as a means of avoid- bicycle project relative to other candidates for funding. As ing costly design in later development stages on projects
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50 that may not be economically feasible. Bike facilities · Final Design--Final Design consists of developing are typically sufficiently well defined by their setting plans and specifications in sufficient detail to con- and of modest cost relative to major roadway or transit struct the project. This project phase results in final projects to preclude the need for this step in the devel- pre-construction cost estimates. If property acquisition opment process. Should analysis at this level be con- is required, the real estate acquisition process, which can ducted for a proposed bicycle path, the work could be be time consuming, should be initiated early in this phase eligible for federal funding assistance through the UPWP. of project development with preparation of appraisals At this level of analysis, guideline information on con- followed by acquisition. Both construction and real estate struction costs would be updated based on schematic estimates can again be updated in this phase. design and real estate costs would be updated based on · Construction, Operation, and Maintenance are the final estimates from local assessors or realtors. project phases. · Preliminary Engineering Design/Environmental Impact Analysis--Major transportation projects and projects The prescribed tool provides a reliable starting point for with potentially significant environmental impacts are urban planners, policy officials, and decision-makers to usually advanced through design in two phases: Prelim- understand the merits and costs of bicycle facilities. These inary Engineering (PE) design/Environmental Impact officials are often presented with information about how Statement (EIS), and Final Design. At the completion of much these facilities cost. Opponents of bicycle projects con- a PE, the project scope and real estate requirements sistently use such information to demonstrate how trimming should be specifically identified and National and State particular projects would preserve funds that could be used Environmental Analyses should be completed. Federal for other aims. The described tool and guidelines--and in funding assistance for this and all subsequent project many respects the underlying research--provide planners, development phases would usually come from capital decision-makers, and policy officials with a reliable, consis- funding sources, requiring the project be included in the tent method to compare bicycle facilities and measure often TIP. Construction costs developed from the guidelines stated benefits. Such analysis could allow for better use of lim- should again be updated at completion of this develop- ited transportation funds. Having a constant measure of the ment phase. If property acquisition is required detailed costs and benefits of the bicycle facilities will help decision- property plans should be completed at the end of this makers to pursue broader public policy goals of increased development stage. cycling and a healthier population.