Transportation Alternatives

Transportation Alternatives (TA) projects and activities encompass smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrians and bicycle facilities, historic preservation, safe routes to school and other transportation-related activities.

Since 1991, the Federal Transportation Acts have provided funding for transportation alternatives/enhancement activities, through a set-aside from the Surface Transportation Block Grant STBG) program.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act/Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (IIJA/BIL) TA - (federal funding)

Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) act Transportation Alternative - STBG set-aside allocations (federal funding)

Distribution formula

In 2022, the federal transportation act allocations for the Transportation Alternatives (TA) were modified as follows:

  • Over 200,000 population – Distributed based on 2010 Census data as required.
  • Urbanized areas greater than 50,000 but no more than 200,000 – Distributed based on 2010 Census data as required.
  • Urban areas greater than 5,000 but no more than 49,999 – Distributed based on 2010 Census data as required.
  • Under 5,000 population – Distributed based on 2010 Census data for this population area.
  • Flexible:
     Prior to distribution, $2.4 million (even year) and $1.7 million (odd year) is provided to the statewide Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.
     Distributed based on 2010 Census data for the total population of the area.

Local Control Plan

BIL allows states to suballocate up to 100% of the TA funds, if FHWA approves WSDOT’s Local Control Plan. Items that must be in the plan include:

Description of MPO/RTPO competitive TA program:

  • How do each MPO/RTPO carry out a competitive process to select TA projects for funding and report selected projects to WSDOT?
  • Each MPO/RTPO legal, financial, and technical capacity for this activity. 

To complete this plan, WSDOT needs the following information from each MPO/RTPO by April 1, 2023, regarding your competitive TA program, to continue to receive a TA allocation in FFY 2024. 

  • FHWA TA Plan Approval – Prior to FFY 2024.

NOTE: FFY 2024-26 TA funds will be distributed as detailed above, once FHWA approves WA Local Control Plan. 


IIJA/BIL FAST Act requires WSDOT to report to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the status of Transportation Alternatives (TA) projects. However, the report has been revised and as of 2/1/2023, FHWA has not yet released the additional guidance required for reporting. FHWA then compiles all the states reports and submits the national report annually to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary, as well as making it available to the public. The reports are to be based on each federal fiscal year (FFY) and are due to FHWA in early December.

Annually, each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) and County that receives a TA allocation is to submit to WSDOT a report for that FFY’s TA allocation that includes (TBD). Items likely to be required are:

  • Number of project applications received that FFY;
  • Cost of the projects for which applications were received that FFY;
  • Number of projects selected for funding that fiscal year, including:
     Costs of the projects selected, and
     Location of the projects selected.
  • Types of projects to be carried out, based on the following seven categories:
     Pedestrian & Bicycle Facilities
     Recreational (recreational trail projects only)
     Turnouts, Overlooks, Viewing Area
     Historic Preservation
     Environmental and Wildlife
     Safe Routes to School
     Other – Inventory, control or removal of outdoor advertising

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