While we await the President’s budget and meet with members of Congress on our appropriations requests, it is a nice time of year to check-in on how states are doing implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program. Here are the results from our quarterly state of the states assessment for the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, and there’s a lot to like, a few things to be disappointed by, and opportunities to flag for the future.
On the positive side, states are making great progress obligating Transportation Alternatives Program funds – over $67 million this quarter. Two states tapped into the new flexibility of using TAP funds to provide technical assistance to prospective applicants, staff the program, or expedite project delivery: Connecticut and Montana. (There are only five states that have used these funds to date: CT, ID, MT, PA, and TX. We’d love the scoop on what states are using these funds for! Do you know? Give us the scoop! email@example.com) In really excellent news, Virginia transferred an additional $7 million into the program, on top of $10 million earlier in 2022.
And now for the bummer: this quarter confirmed that at the end of FY22, three states let funding lapse. Wisconsin, which has lapsed funds several years in a row, was joined by Alabama and Missouri, which both let funds lapse for the first time ever, for a total of $11.4 million. We know that people and communities in Alabama, Missouri, and Wisconsin want to walk, bike, and have Safe Routes to School, so it is very disappointing when states let funds go unused rather than use them on projects that support safe walking and wheeling. These were funds granted in 2018, which meant the state had four years to obligate them and failed to do so.
As we look to the rest of this year, we encourage you to see if your state has funds at risk of lapsing at the end of this fiscal year (10/1/23) – there are 20 states in that position. States have the full year to obligate these funds, and we have confidence that they will responsibly steward those funds, but if your state is on that list, reach out to your state DOT to check in that there is a plan is to prevent those funds from being sent back to the federal government instead of being spent on much needed and desired active transportation projects.
If you’re new to our quarterly state of the states tracking, learn what each column and data point mean here and if you need a refresher on what changed in our tracking since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed, you can read up here. As always, we invite you to send us your specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org .