Strategy AC1.1: Use the MPO/RPO process to advance pedestrian and bike priorities and increase funding levels for pedestrian and bike projects in the Transportation Improvement Process.
A Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a detailed list of transportation projects that have federal and state funding. The TIP must be developed in coordination with the State and any affected public transportation operator, approved by the Governor, and incorporated into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The TIP includes funding information and the anticipated schedule for highway, public transit, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian projects. The TIP must be updated at least every four years per federal regulations and must match the STIP in order for projects to receive funding. The TIP is the vehicle through which the majority of transportation improvements are funded. Pedestrian and bicycle priorities should be advanced through the TIP process.
Although the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) historically has dedicated minimal funding to pedestrian and bicycle projects, there are federal transportation funds available for certain improvements. While many details of the new MAP-21 legislation are still being finalized, it does contain funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects under several categories, including the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This program consolidates previous SAFETEA-LU programs, with funds awarded through competitive grants administered by NCDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) like the French Broad River MPO (FBRMPO). These funds are intended for local and regional agencies and organizations; however, if no grant applications are received, NCDOT can either use the funds for TAP projects, or opt out of the program. MPOs with urbanized area population over 200,000, such as FBRMPO, also hold a call for projects for Surface Transportation Program-Direct Attributable funds (STP-DA), which can be used for a variety of transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrian projects. STP-DA funds as well as TA funds require a 20 percent local match.