As you begin to find your way through the application process, start by matching your project with at least one of the 12 designated TE activities. Remember that to be eligible for consideration of federal-aid Transportation Enhancement funds, a TE project must meet at a minimum two basic Federal requirements:
Other Considerations for Project Eligibility
A TE project may be a "stand-alone" project, such as the Absecon Lighthouse restoration in New Jersey or it may be a sub-component to a larger transportation facility.
Different components of your project may be eligible for TE funds. The more eligible activities you present on your application the more likely it is to receive funds.
Proximity to a road or transportation facility does not in itself establish eligibility. Additional discussion beyond proximity is needed in the TE project proposal to establish the relationship to transportation.
The funded activities must be accessible to the general public or targeted to a broad segment of the population.
It is not necessary to have a TE activity function as an active transportation facility, either past or current, to qualify as an eligible TE activity. For example, a scenic or historic site may have a relationship to transportation but not function as a transportation facility.
TE funds are available for all phases of projects from planning and design to property acquisition, surveying, preliminary engineering, construction and management. However, TE funds may not be used for routine maintenance or standard environmental mitigation.
Where a TE activity is for acquisition for scenic preservation purposes, and proposes to contribute to the visual experience of the traveler, but is a substantial distance away with respect to a highway or transportation project, the TE activity must be determined to make a substantial contribution to the scenic viewshed.
On occasions determining which activities are eligible for funding can be difficult. When questions arise, closer coordination with the FHWA division office and State DOT will assist in the determination of a projects relationship to surface transportation.
It is important to become familiar with your state program practices regarding eligibility. Contact your State TE Coordinator for specific information on your state's TE process.
Definition of Surface Transportation
Surface transportation means all elements of the intermodal transportation system, exclusive of aviation. For the purposes of TE eligibility, surface transportation includes water as surface transportation and includes as eligible activities related features such as canals, lighthouses, and docks or piers connecting to ferry operations, as long as the proposed enhancement otherwise meets the basic eligibility criteria.