Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot Program
The Transportation and Community and System Preservation (TCSP) Pilot Program provides funding over five years to States, local and tribal governments, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to develop innovative strategies that use transportation to build livable communities. Created by Section 1221 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), $120 million of funding is authorized to respond to the concerns of communities from across America that transportation investments should be used to achieve strong, sustainable economic growth while simultaneously protecting the environment and ensuring a high quality of life.
This report reviews the accomplishments of the TCSP program following its first three years of implementation. Between Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 and 2001, a total of 199 grants valued at $91.1 million have been awarded to government agencies throughout the United States. These grants are supporting a wide range of transportation planning and implementation projects with the following objectives:
A review of project status and accomplishments to date, as well as interviews with grantees, Federal program partners, and stakeholder groups, suggests that TCSP projects are indeed accomplishing these objectives. TCSP projects funded in the first three years of the program have helped to bring innovation to transportation practice in the following ways:
Furthermore, the TCSP program is disseminating the effective practices developed through individual TCSP projects by sponsoring a web site, workshops, case studies, and project evaluations to share knowledge about accomplishments and lessons learned. The impacts of the TCSP program, as a result, reach well beyond the scope of its individual projects.
While enthusiasm for the objectives and accomplishments of the TCSP program is widespread, the program’s mix of projects has changed in significant ways between FY 1999 and 2001. These changes have accompanied a shift in the way grants are awarded from a competitive application process to Congressional earmarking. Over this three-year period, there has been a strong shift away from projects focused on regional transportation planning and on grants awarded to MPOs. The share of projects developing planning tools, methods, and handbooks also has declined. There has been a corresponding increase in location-specific planning and implementation grants to cities and counties, with an emphasis on public-sector transportation and capital investments such as bicycle paths, streetscapes, transit facilities, and roadway improvements. While interviewees did not fault the Congressionally selected projects, they felt that the TCSP program’s intended focus on planning innovations, non-traditional partnerships, project evaluation, and knowledge transfer is decreasing, and that the program may be losing many of its unique and most beneficial aspects as a result.
Looking ahead to the last two years of the TCSP Pilot Program in FY 2002 and 2003, and to the re-authorization of TEA-21 in advance of FY 2004, interviewees made a number of suggestions for maximizing the effectiveness of the program in the future: