Transportation Alternatives Program

As part of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside is a reimbursable federal aid funding program for transportation-related community projects that strengthen the intermodal transportation system.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Park and Visitors Center
Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Park and Visitor Center
in Dorchester County awarded $8,500,000 in 2011

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) will award projects that enhance the cultural, aesthetic, historic and environmental aspects of the system. The program funds projects that create bicycle and pedestrian facilities, restore historic transportation buildings, convert abandoned railway corridors to pedestrian trails and mitigate highway runoff.

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How the Program Works

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) administers the TAP for all Maryland projects as a service to its customers.

Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), federal legislation eliminated the TAP as established under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). As required under current federal legislation, approximately 40 percent of the funds allotted to Maryland’s TAP are distributed to three Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO):

  • Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB).
  • National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB).
  • Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO).

Click here to see if your project is within one of these MPO’s.

MDOT SHA encourages the development of TAP projects for the 60 percent of the state-apportioned funds available to any area in the State. The TAP Project Sponsor is responsible for the design, management, construction, implementation and permit requests. All potential TAP projects request a project sponsor cash match for the minimum of 20 percent of the project costs. The project sponsor also assumes the maintenance and legal liability for the duration of the project’s useful life.

Eligible project sponsors may include:

  • Local governments.
  • Regional transportation authorities.
  • Transit agencies.
  • Natural resource and public land agencies.
  • School districts and local education agencies.
  • Tribal governments.
  • Any local and governmental entity with oversight of transportation or recreational trails.
Cross Country Connector Trail
Cross County Connector Trail - Grasonville project in Queen Anne's County,
awarded $3,431,084 in 2015.

Any project sponsored by a non-government agency, organization or individual must have a government agency as a co-sponsor.

For addtional information see the TAP manual (PDF, 12mb)

Project Eligibility

All TAP projects must be related to surface transportation and meet the criteria for one of the qualifying TAP categories outlined in the federal legislation.

For additional information, see the TAP Manual.

Additionally, projects in Maryland must:

  • Benefit all potential users and allow free use by a broad segment of the public.
  • Maintain a reasonable duration of the intended public use, as determined by MDOT SHA.
  • Be located on publicly owned right-of -way or on right-of-way encumbered with a permanent easement held by a state agency or the government agency sponsoring or co-sponsoring the project; and
  • Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and all other applicable state and federal regulations (e.g., pedestrian and bicycle facilities must meet state and federal standards for width, grade, signing and materials).

Getting Started

  • As a potential project sponsor, first establish that your project is eligible for TAP funding by determining its qualifying category and relationship to surface transportation. 
  • If you are not with a government agency, be sure to secure a government agency co-sponsor for the project.
  • TAP funding can be requested for up to 80 percent of a project’s total estimated cost. Ensure other sources of non-federal transportation funding can cover the minimum 20 percent cash match. Projects that provide more than the minimum 20 percent cash match will be considered stronger applications during the selection process.   
  • Reach out to the MDOT SHA TAP staff to discuss the potential project.

Call for Applications

The application cycle for FFY 2023 will open on Friday April 15th and close on Monday May 16, 2022.  Applications will be reviewed, and award announcements will be made in the Fall of 2022.

New This Year

MDOT SHA will accept applications early if a project sponsor can submit its application between April 1 and April 6th. The submission window will be opened temporary so project sponsors can submit their application and have it reviewed within two to three weeks. The applicant will then be able to make changes to the application and resubmit once the application cycle reopens starting April 15, 2022.

Go to Transportation Alternatives (TA) Grant Application to apply.

FFY 2022 MDOT State Highway Adminstration Grant Awards

GOVERNOR HOGAN ANNOUNCES $16.8 MILLION TO ADVANCE 42 BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN PROJECTS ACROSS MARYLAND

See additional resources below or contact us at:

Christy Bernal
Transportation Alternatives Program
Maryland State Highway Administration
Regional and Intermodal Planning Division
707 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 410-545-5675
Fax: 410-209-5025
Email: cbernal@mdot.maryland.gov

Questions for Baltimore Metropolitan Council BMC - Contact Charlene Mingus (410) 732-0500 x1008 / cmingus@baltometro.org
Questions for Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments MWCOG – John Swanson 202-962-3295 / jswanson@mwcog.org
Questions for Wilmington Area Planning Council WILMAPCO – Contact Heather Dunigan (302) 737-6205 ex 118 / hdunigan@wilmapco.org

Additional Resources