Regional Surface Transportation Program
Roanoke Valley Area MPO RSTP 2013 Projects
The Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVAMPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region of Virginia. As such, it is a federally mandated transportation policy board comprised of representatives from local, state, and federal governments, transit agencies, and other stakeholders and is responsible for transportation planning and programming for the Roanoke Valley MPO Study Area. This is comprised of the Cities of Roanoke and Salem; the Counties of Botetourt and Roanoke; the Town of Vinton; and a portion of Bedford and Montgomery Counties.
Among its functions, the RVAMPO is responsible for project selection and allocation of funds under the federally funded Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP). The Surface Transportation Program (STP) provides federal funding that may be used by states and localities for a wide range of highway and transit projects. RSTP funds are STP funds that are apportioned to specific regions within a state.
This report summarizes the work of selecting RSTP projects during the RSTP project selection process of 2013. Projects selected received allocations of RSTP funds over the fiscal years 2013 through 2018.
The current schedule for accepting new RSTP projects will begin in the summer of 2014 and the projects will be scored throughout the fall/winter of 2014, and approved by the Roanoke Valley Area MPO Policy Board in the spring of 2015.
Eligible recipients of RSTP funds in the Roanoke Valley Area include the member local governments who have all or a portion of their territory in the RVAMPO Study Area Boundary, Greater Roanoke Transit Company (GRTC – “Valley Metro”), Unified Human Services Transportation Systems, Inc. (RADAR), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVAMPO) and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) – RVAMPO and RVARC for planning studies.
TTC=Transportation Technical Committee of the Roanoke Valley Area MPO
Virginia Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)
Program Background and History
The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was authorized in the most recent federal transportation bill – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). This legislation was signed into law on July 6, 2012. The Transportation Alternatives Program redefines the former Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program and consolidates these eligibilities with the Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails program eligibilities.
The former Transportation Enhancement Program was originally authorized in the Inter-modal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and continued through two successive laws: TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU. The Transportation Alternatives Program builds upon the legacy of the TE program by expanding travel choices, strengthening the local economy, improving the quality of life, and protecting the environment.
Mission of the Transportation Alternatives Program
The program is intended to help local sponsors fund community based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historical and environmental aspects of the transportation infrastructure. The program does not fund traditional roadway projects or provide maintenance for these facilities. Instead it focuses on providing for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, community improvements and mitigating the negative impacts of the highway system.
TAP is part of the Federal-aid Highway program. It is not a grant program and funds are only available on a reimbursement basis. This means the project sponsor must first incur project expenses and then request reimbursement.
Program Structure and Funding
Each State’s Transportation Alternatives Program funding includes: the ten (10) Transportation Alternatives (TA) eligibilities; the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) eligibilities; the “Boulevard” eligibilities; and the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). MAP-21 clearly outlines how these funds are to be distributed. First, there is a sub-apportionment for the Recreational Trails Program which is taken off the top of the State’s total TAP funding allocation. Of the remaining balance, MAP-21 states that 50% can be allocated anywhere in the state, but the other 50% must be allocated based on population as set forth in the federal legislation. The divisions for the population-based sub-allocations are:
Urbanized areas of the State with a population over 200,000 – also known as a Transportation Management Area (TMA)
Areas of the State with a population less than 200,000 but greater than 5,000
Areas of the State with a population less than 5,000
The Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization was designated a TMA MPO in 2012. Each MPO is involved in the solicitation and recommendation of TA applications to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
MAP-21 identifies four (4) categories of eligibilities for the Transportation Alternatives Program:
Safe Routes to School
Boulevards in former Interstate System Routes
In Virginia, the Transportation Alternatives Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), will focus on the Transportation Alternatives and Safe Routes to School eligibilities. To be considered for this funding, a project must relate to surface transportation and qualify under one or more of the TA or SRTS activities.
Transportation Alternatives Eligibilities
Below are the ten (10) qualifying TA activities:
1. Construction of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorized transportation users
2. Construction of infrastructure related projects and systems that will provide safe routes for non-drivers to access daily needs
3. Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorized transportation users
4. Construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas
5. Inventory, control or removal of outdoor advertising
6. Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities
7. Vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way
8. Archaeological activities relating to impacts from implementation of a transportation project
9. Environmental mitigation activities to decrease the negative impacts of roads on the natural environment due to highway run-off and water pollution
10. Wildlife mortality mitigation activities to decrease the negative impacts of roads on wildlife and habitat connectivity
Safe Routes to School Eligibilities
The SRTS activities include both infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements intended to enable and encourage children K – 8th grade to safely walk and bicycle to school. These activities include:
1. Infrastructure related projects including their planning, design and construction
Traffic calming and speed reduction improvements
Pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements
On-street bicycle facilities
Off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities
Secure bicycle parking facilities
Traffic diversion improvements in the vicinity of schools
2. Non-infrastructure related projects including promotion and safety education
Public awareness campaigns and outreach
Traffic education and enforcement in the vicinity of school
Student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health, and environment
Funding for training, volunteers and managers of safe routes to school programs
The TA applications are typically due annually by November 1. For more information, deadlines and applications, please visit the VDOT Transportation Alternatives page here.
There were three TA project applications received by VDOT on November 1, 2013, which are as follows:
Applicant: City of Roanoke
Project: Improving Bicycle & Pedestrian Connections on Garden City Blvd.
TA Funds Requested: $800,000
Applicant: City of Roanoke
Project: Melrose Avenue Pedestrian & Bus Stop Improvements
TA Funds Requested: $160,000
Applicant: City of Salem
Project: Extension of Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail to East Main Street
TA Funds Requested: $720,000