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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

TCSP Grant Workshop Denver, Colorado May 11-12, 1999

Track D: Leveraging Opportunities


Lisa Hanf; Air Quality Specialist, Federal Highway Administration, Western Resource Center


Linda Dodge; Regional Program Manager, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Denver, Colorado

Harold Peaks; Team Leader, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, D.C

Matthew Welbes; Special Assistant to the Associate for Budget & Policy, Federal Transit Administration, Washington, D.C.

Ken Snyder; Community Development Specialist, Department of Energy, Denver, Colorado

Peter Lidiak; Program Analyst, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

The White House's Livability Initiative has raised sustainable development issues to a national level. This Livability Initiative supports providing greater resources to communities for sustainable development projects. Since transportation has a significant effect on development patterns, the U.S. Department of Transportation has taken an interest in sustainable development. Other Federal agencies are involved as well. As part of this awareness a venue was provided at the TCSP workshop to highlight other sources of Federal funds and programs available for projects related to sustainable development and livability. Representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency discussed their respective programs.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was created by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out national highway safety programs. By using a combination of enforcement, road design, and educational strategies, the NHTSA works to ensure that motor vehicle travel is both safe and efficient. The NHTSA sets motor vehicle safety standards and provides funding for state and local highway safety programs. NHTSA funds pass through state agencies, and only go to projects which are on the state's highway safety plan.

Safe Communities. One notable NHTSA program that address livability issues is the Safe Communities program. It encourages community members affected by safety issues to work together on injury prevention programs. A community group works with a program coordinator to collect information on injuries and to prioritize safety problems. Public involvement is an important part of this program, and any Safe Communities activity should include citizens, businesses, traffic engineers, EMS, police, hospitals, and other relevant partners.


The Federal Highway Administration is a modal administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. The vision of the FHWA is to create the best transportation system in the world for the American people through proactive leadership, innovation, and excellence in service. The FHWA also provides expertise, resources, and information to continually improve the quality of our nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The FHWA undertakes this mission in cooperation with its state, metropolitan, and other partners to enhance the country's economic vitality, quality of life, and environment. The FHWA performs its mission through three main programs: the Federal-Aid Highway Program, the Motor Carrier Safety Program, and the Federal Lands Program. To support all of these program areas, the FHWA conducts and manages a comprehensive research, development, and technology program.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program(CMAQ). CMAQ was created to improve air quality in non-attainment and maintenance areas. Under TEA-21, funding is predicted to be between $1.19 billion and $1.43 billion per year. In addition to public entities, private and nonprofit organizations are also eligible to receive funds. New provisions are now in place for alternative fuel vehicles. The May 11, 1999 CMAQ Guidance provides additional information on eligibility. By 2001, the National Academy of Sciences will conduct a study of the CMAQ program to compare the benefits derived from the program to the cost of operating it.

Transportation Enhancements. The Transportation Enhancements program funds activities that make communities more pleasant places to live. Qualifying projects include bike/pedestrian facilities and safety, scenic easements, historical site preservation, transportation museums, and vehicle-caused wildlife mortality avoidance. Besides falling into at least one of these categories, projects must also have a connection with transportation. The average grant size is $293,000, but some have been as high as $14 million. Under TEA-21, funding for the program has increased by 40%.


The Federal Transit Administration is a modal agency within the Department of Transportation responsible for creating an effective mass transportation system. Some FTA services available for local transit systems providers include financial, technical, and planning assistance for transit improvements and traffic reduction. The FTA promotes transit as an important part of the overall transportation network. The FTA sees the development of customer-friendly, community-oriented transit facilities as a key to developing livable communities.

General Transit Funding. Federal Transit funds are guaranteed to be at least $36 billion from FY98 through FY03 under TEA-21, but total funding is predicted to be approximately $41 billion. About $19.9 billion will go toward formula grants, which are used for purchasing buses, rail cars, and maintenance facilities. Capital investment will get $18.3 billion, but this tends to

be insufficient for funding all projects. There is $534 billion authorized for planning, with 83% going toward state planning and 17% toward metropolitan planning. In certain cases, flexible funding allows states to transfer highway funds to transit if additional transit funding is needed.

Transit Enhancements. In areas with more than 200,000 people, 1% of Urbanized Area Formula grants are set aside for transit enhancements. The transit enhancements program is designed to improve quality of life in the community and improve the quality of the transit service environment. This is similar to the transportation enhancement program. Transit enhancements can include historical preservation, bus shelters, landscaping, public art, pedestrian access, bicycle access, connections to parks, signs, and enhanced access for disabled persons.

New Starts. The New Starts program provides grants and loans to public agencies for creating new fixed guideway transit systems, or for expanding existing systems. Criteria for evaluating projects include local financial commitment, population density and current ridership, and the technical capabilities of the grantee. Projects are also judged on how well the grantee justifies the project and on any predicted reduction in infrastructure costs due to compact development. Non-federal matching funds of 20% are required.


The U.S. Department of Energy is a science, technology, and outreach agency in charge of ensuring that the nation's energy-related needs are met. The DOE handles such issues as nuclear security, scientific and technological research, energy security, and environmental quality. The Department of Energy supports sustainable development practices as having a positive impact on national energy security.

Clean Cities program. The Clean Cities program is designed to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles, create the needed infrastructure for these vehicles, and encourage public awareness of the benefits of energy savings. Under this program, busses, taxis, and other vehicle fleets have been converted to alternative fuels. 6 version will reduce emissions and make the United States more self sufficient in energy. Both governmental entities and private industries are included in the program. Participants benefit from belonging to a network where they can learn from others' experiences in initiating alternative fuels programs.

Planning for Community Energy, Economic, and Environmental sustainability (PLACE3S). PLACE3S is a planning method which combines public participation, land use planning and design, and computer-assisted quantification tools to help communities produce plans that can save money, create jobs and reduce pollution. It is a five-step planning process for assisting local governments in visioning and evaluating alternative community planning scenarios. For more information on PLACE3S and other land use planning tools visit the tools section of http://www.sustainable.doe.go


The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment by implementing Federal laws designed to protect against the deleterious effects of harmful pollution. Roles of the environmental protection agency include ensuring access to clean air, water, and food, preventing pollution, improving waste management and cleanup, fostering international cooperation to address cross-border environmental problems, providing information about the environment, promoting a sound scientific approach to environmental problems, and ensuring compliance with environmental laws.

Brownfields Program. The goal of the Brownfields Program is to help communities assess, safely clean-up and sustainably reuse brownfields -- abandoned and underused properties where environmental contamination is a barrier to reuse. The Brownfields Program includes grants for brownfields assessment, clean-up revolving loan funds and job training projects. EPA works with stakeholders including Federal agencies (more than 20), States, Tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations and the private sector to facilitate Brownfields reuse. In FY 99, EPA'sBrownfields Program was funded for about $90 million, most of it distributed to States, Tribes and local governments. The Air/Brownfields Partnership Project explores ways to improve air quality and encourage brownfields redevelopment, particularly by rewarding communities for the air quality improvements resulting from brownfields infill projects. Transportation issues are critical to successful brownfields redevelopment, both to provide crucial access for brownfields projects and for transportation projects on brownfields properties.

Sustainable Development Challenge Grants. The Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program gives money to locally developed projects that approach serious environmental problems through the application of sustainable development strategies. These strategies combine environmental protection, economic vitality, and community well-being. The grants are competitive, with funds available in FY 1998 for only 41 projects from an application pool of 646. The grant applications are evaluated based on their innovation, measurable results, community commitment and partnerships, ability to be replicated elsewhere, and long-term commitment. A financial match of at least 20% is required.

Mobile Source Outreach Grants. Mobile Source Outreach Grants provide funding for outreach programs related to mobile source pollution at the community level. The competition is open to State and local air management agencies and multi-State organizations. There is approximately $600,000 available. In the past, the Mobile Source Outreach Assistance Competition has been able to provide approximately 10% of the funding requested. Eligible projects should improve air quality, possess strong public health messages, be replicable in other communities, reflect potential for long-term activity, and include measurements and evaluations.

Clean Air Partnership Fund. The Clean Air Partnership Fund is a new program included in the President's FY 2000 budget request. It is an attempt to meet the continuing challenges of air quality control by encouraging multi-pollutant strategies as opposed to short-term, single pollutant strategies. The emphasis will be on learning and technology transfer. Selection will be based on the potential of the proposed plans to reduce multiple air pollutants, to achieve results that can be replicated elsewhere, and to significantly leverage funds. Plans must also demonstrate innovative programs or technologies.

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