Replacing the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Scenic Byways programs from the prior comprehensive funding bill (SAFETEA-LU), the new Transportation Alternatives (TA) program was one of the most contentious pieces of the MAP-21 negotiations. So where did the final bill land?
Although funding for the program continues to be dedicated (albeit at FY 2009 levels), "The major compromise reached on Transportation Alternatives is to essentially expand both flexibility for states and control for metropolitan regions," writes Jordan. The new program expands the types of projects eligible for funding and gives each state an avenue to "transfer its balance of unobligated funding to other projects."
According to Jordan, "Supporters of TA-eligible projects will have new opportunities to pursue local projects funding through the 50 percent set aside for metro areas. But, these same supporters will have to pressure states to ensure that vital bike, pedestrian, and safety resources are not siphoned off to other projects by state officials."