Each transportation enhancement project must relate to surface transportation and meet one of the 12 eligible activities (23 U.S.C. 101(a)(35)).
FHWA's Transportation Enhancement Guidance states that "relates to surface transportation" is a more flexible standard than the "direct link" standard in the past.* Some factors that can help establish this relationship include:
The pertinence of any factor may vary with a particular project and with each of the 12 eligible activities. The project sponsor should clearly explain the relationship to surface transportation in the project proposal.
Contact your State TE Manager to ask questions about a proposed project's relationship to surface transportation. The State DOT may impose guidelines on project eligibility that are more restrictive than FHWA's guidance.
* NOTE: The term "relates to surface transportation", codified into 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(35) in 1998, replaced the "direct link to surface transportation" that FHWA had established in a guidance memorandum in 1995.