The Transportation Planning Board recently approved a number of pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects in Northern Virginia to receive funding under the federal Transportation Alternatives Program.
The $2.5 million in funding will cover the capital costs of constructing the projects, which include sidewalk enhancements, new bike lanes and bikeways, and accessibility improvements for persons with disabilities.
The projects are spread across Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties. They were selected by the TPB based on how well they support or advance regional goals, including providing more transportation options, strengthening Activity Centers, improving access to transit, and serving disadvantaged populations.
A selection panel reviewed a total of 17 applications for funding and worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation to select projects that both serve regional needs and reflect state priorities.
More: See the Board presentation summarizing the recent project selection
The Transportation Alternatives Program was created in 2012 under MAP-21, the law authorizing federal spending on transportation. The new program combines several different programs that existed prior to MAP-21, including Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails, and Transportation Enhancements. Under the new program, MPOs like the TPB are responsible for selecting projects to receive a portion of the funding designated to be spent in large metropolitan areas.
In future solicitations, the TPB hopes to fund one or more projects that improve non-motorized access to underutilized rail transit stations in the region. In a recent study, it identified more than 3,000 possible pedestrian and bicycle improvements near 25 stations that are currently operating below capacity but that are anticipating significant ridership growth in the coming decade.
More: Study Maps Ways to Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Access to "Underutilized" Rail Transit Stations
Future solicitations will also continue to encourage projects that emerge from planning studies funded under the TPB's Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program. The program provides technical assistance to local jurisdictions to conduct planning studies or carry out preliminary engineering for projects that enhance transportation and land-use coordination.
The TPB is currently soliciting applications for approximately $2 million in Transportation Alternatives funding for projects located in Maryland for the coming fiscal year. The deadline to submit applications is May 15. Local governments, park authorities, and school boards are among the agencies and organizations eligible to apply for funding.
The TPB will solicit applications for Transportation Alternatives funding for projects in the District of Columbia later this year.
For more information about the TPB's Transportation Alternatives Program, go to:www.mwcog.org/TAP.