Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP)
The 2016 ITEP Cycle 12 is now CLOSED.
Applications are no longer being accepted. The last day to apply was Friday, June 17, 2016.
The review process is currently under way. Projects selected for funding will be announced during fall 2016. The ITEP will be a two-year cycle with the next call for projects anticipated to be in spring 2018. Approximately $29 million is available to award for selected projects this cycle. Please check back for further updates.
The timeline for the 2016 ITEP Cycle 12 is:
ITEP Application Submission Period: May 2nd – June 17th
ITEP Review and Selection Process: June – August
Announcement of Selected Projects: Fall 2016
On December 4, 2015, a new transportation bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act” was signed into law. This is the first Federal law in over ten years to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation. The FAST Act eliminated the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and replaced it with a set-aside of Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program funding for transportation alternatives authorized under Section 1109 of the FAST Act (23 U.S.C. 133(h)). This new STBG program set-aside provides funding for the ITEP, and all projects and activities that were previously eligible under TAP continue to be eligible under the STBG set-aside. Additional information on the FAST Act and STBG program set-aside funds can be obtained from the Federal Highway Administration website, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/transportationalternativesfs.cfm.
The ITEP provides funding for community based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure.
The ITEP is designed to promote and develop alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel, along with streetscape beautification. The federal funds are awarded competitively, and projects must be related to surface transportation. Eligible applicants include all entities that were eligible to apply for TAP funds. Any local or state government with taxing authority is eligible to apply. In addition, the FAST Act allows nonprofit entities responsible for the administration of local transportation safety programs to apply. Local matching funds are required.
2016 ITEP Guidelines Manual
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act is a five-year, $305 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, signed into law Dec. 4, 2015. The FAST Act authorizes federal highway, highway safety, transit and rail programs from federal fiscal years 2016 through 2020. Additional information can be obtained by clicking here or from the Federal Highway Administration website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program
- What types of projects are funded by the Enhancement Program?
Using the federal guidelines as defined under the FAST Act, IDOT is accepting project applications for ITEP funding in the following categories:
• Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities
• Landscape/Streetscape and Other Scenic Beautification
• Conversion of Abandoned Railroad Corridors to Trails
• Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation of Historic Transportation Facilities
• Vegetation Management in Transportation Rights-of-Way
• Archaeological Activities Relating to Impacts from Implementation of a Transportation Project
• Storm Water Management, Control and Water Pollution Prevention or Abatement Related to Highway Construction or Due to Highway Runoff
• Reduce Vehicle-Caused Wildlife Mortality or Restore and Maintain Connectivity Among Terrestrial or Aquatic Habitats
• Construction of Turnouts, Overlooks and Viewing Areas
- Am I required to hold public meetings for project approval?
Public coordination may be necessary depending upon the type and scope of the proposed project, but is not required as a condition for project selection. Public outreach is strongly encouraged by both FHWA and IDOT and should be continued throughout the project. Public involvement will be considered in the selection process as a good reflection of public outreach/support and as a measure of project planning and project readiness.
- Do I need to provide a lot of detailed information?
It is useful to provide as much detail as possible, but often, projects still require feasibility studies, design and environmental studies before construction can proceed. A detailed cost estimate is required with all project submittals. This will help ensure that eligible and ineligible items can be defined which will allow the department and the project sponsor to have a clear understanding of the fiscal responsibilities.
- How can I determine what project elements are eligible and which are ineligible?
Because there is such a vast difference in the types of projects funded under the enhancement program, it is difficult to make one policy that fits all circumstances. Many times eligibility has to be determined on a case by case basis. The ITEP Guidelines Manual lists eligible and ineligible elements for each specific category. Ineligible items can still be part of your project cost estimate but should be separated out. For additional clarification consult the local IDOT enhancement coordinator in your area or submit your question to DOT.ITEP@illinois.gov. Please note - any ineligible items will have to be funded by other means.
- What is meant by “project scope”?
Project scope is a concise description of the elements and scale of a project that need to be done to accomplish its intended purpose. Some detail is needed to clarify what the project sponsor wants to do so the department can determine what elements are eligible for funding. This is also critical if the proposed project is being done in conjunction with another project.
- How much funding can I get for my project?
Individual projects vary in size and costs depending upon the funding category. However, there is a $2 million per-project funding cap. In other words, the department will not award more than $2 million to any single project. The federal portion of eligible costs is 80% with the exception of street lighting and land acquisition which is funded at 50 percent for projects selected under the program.
- What are my chances of getting funding?
ITEP is a very popular program. Since 2006, the amount of funds requested compared to the amount of funds available is approximately 5 to 1. During the last ITEP cycle, 232 applications were submitted and 71 were approved.
- Our community has already received funding for an ITEP project in the past. Does this affect our chances of receiving future ITEP funds?
Project selection is based on eligibility and merit. However, past performance of a project sponsor will be considered.
- What happens if I don’t get all the money I requested from ITEP?
If funding from ITEP is less than the amount requested in the application, the project sponsor has a variety of options:
1) The sponsor can seek funds from other public or private sources;
2) The project can be reduced to fit within the funding provided;
3) The sponsor can stage the project into logical phases and seek additional ITEP funding during a subsequent statewide solicitation.
Project Selection and Implementation
- If my project is selected, what happens next?
The department will initially contact the project sponsor by mail informing them of the project selection and approved funding amount. The IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator in your area is responsible for project implementation and should be the point of contact once you’ve received your letter. The selected project may or may not have received all the funds requested and a scoping meeting (see next question) may be needed to determine which project elements the department has provided funding for or to discuss how to proceed with re-scoping the project to fit within the approved budget.
- What is a scoping meeting?
The scoping meeting is where the project sponsor reviews the project funding with the department to determine what elements of the project are being funded and how that funding will be provided. FHWA and the department’s policies and procedures along with the sponsor’s responsibilities will be discussed in more detail. Scoping meetings will be held by the IDOT District Local Roads offices (if required) after project selection and notifications are made. Project sponsors are encouraged to contact their respective IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator as soon as approval notification is received.
- What happens if I have a cost overrun on my project?
ITEP is limited in its ability to make up shortfalls for project cost overruns. Following similar steps as outlined in #4 under Project Funding, the sponsor should seek alternatives to manage the project within available funding levels. Funds can be shifted from one phase to another, such as from PE to construction to cover shortfalls. An ITEP Change Request form (Form # OPP 2255) has been developed to simplify the process. Please contact the IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator in your area.
- If I have already completed Preliminary Engineering, will I be required to do more work before proceeding to construction?
All engineering work must be done in accordance with federal guidelines. You may need to adjust accordingly. Contact your respective IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator with any related inquiries.
- What is the Federal Flexible Match Program (FFM)?
This program allows flexibility to the Federal-Aid Highway Program’s matching requirements by allowing certain public donations of cash, materials, and services to satisfy the local matching requirements. Basically the project sponsor can get ‘credits’ toward construction and construction engineering to use as part of the local match. This does not increase your funding level.
- What if I am unable to meet the time frame for project implementation as defined under the Sunset Clause?
This policy has been instituted to help reduce the amount of unobligated ITEP funds which are subject to federal rescissions or to lapse (expire). If the required time frames cannot be met, your project funds may be rescinded. IDOT will continue to monitor projects, and project sponsors may be required to submit documentation on the status of their project on a periodic basis.