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Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP)

ITEP Cycle 15 - 2022

ITEP Application Submission Period:  August 1st, 2022 (8am) – September 30th, 2022 (5pm)

ITEP Review and Selection Process:  October 2022 – April 2023

Announcement of Selected Projects:  Spring 2023

Active Transportation Alliance and Illinois Public Health Institute will hold a 3 part Webinar Series to introduce the ITEP program and recent changes, prepare applicants for the application process, and provide guidance on completing the application. 

Cycle 15 - 2022 Webinar is 9:30am-11:00am CST on the following dates:

Webinar 1 - July 20th   |  Webinar 2 - August 24th (Register)  | Webinar 3  September 14th (Register)

In order to apply for ITEP funds, every applicant must be registered through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) grantee portal, and all pre-award requirements must be fulfilled.  The grantee portal link can be found HERE.  For general GATA information, please visit the GATA website.

New for ITEP Cycle 15 - 2022:

  • New TA Set-Aside requirements took effect October 1, 2021 with the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), under the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA).
  • Additional Eligible sponsors:
    • A metropolitan planning organization that serves an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 or fewer. MPOs representing urbanized areas over 200,000 population are not eligible entities.
    • A nonprofit entity. Must partner with a taxing agency.
    • A State, at the request of an eligible entity. State DOTs and MPOs may partner with any eligible entity project sponsor to carry out a project. After projects have been selected, the State DOT may manage projects.
  • ITEP combined federal and state funds will be capped at $3 million.
  • ITEP applicants are no longer required to submit a hard copy of the application to IDOT.

If you have any questions about ITEP, please contact us at DOT.ITEP@Illinois.gov

 

Application Process

IDOT’s ITEP application period begins August 1st (8:00am CST) and ends September 30th (5:00pm CST).

All project applications must be submitted through the online application process and should be complete and accurate.

All project applications must either complete a Community Score through the GIS mapping tool or pick from a list of existing Community Scores already created.

ITEP applicants are no longer required to submit a hard copy of the application to IDOT.

APPLICATION ATTACHMENTS:

Required Attachments:

  1. GATA Uniform Grant Application
  2. GATA Programmatic Risk Assessment
  3. GATA Uniform Grant Budget Template | Instructions
  4. BoBS 2831: Uniform Grant Agreement Affidavit of Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest - Grantee (6/30/21)
    - Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Statement
  5. Government Resolution
  6. Detailed Cost Estimate - Example
  7. Detailed Project Map
  8. Allowance Letter
  9. Colored Photographs

Additional Attachments:

  1. Public Involvement
  2. Letters of Support

Funding Amount / Matching Funds

ITEP is a reimbursable grant program, which requires an interagency/joint funding agreement that details the project scope of work and cost participation. The project sponsor must pay all costs up-front and will be reimbursed as the sponsor submits the paperwork documenting implementation.

Applicants may apply for up to $3,000,000 maximum per project in ITEP funds. Total funds available for this cycle is $125 million.

Projects must meet the following criteria to qualify for ITEP funds:

  • The project must have an eligible project sponsor.
  • The project must relate to surface transportation.
  • The project must fit within one of the eligible categories.
  • The project must be selected through a competitive process.
  • The project must comply with any additional IDOT policies as outlined in the guidelines.

Work that begins prior to federal authorization will not be eligible for reimbursement.

All ITEP funded projects must have all phases of work fully obligated within four years of the award notification letter or funds will be rescinded.

Federal Funding

The federal transportation bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act changed the method by which transportation alternative projects are funded. Funding moved to a set-aside of the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program.  The latest federal highway funding bill Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA), authorized five years of the Transportation Alternatives Set-aside (TA Set-Aside) of the STBG Program.

Federal funds will provide reimbursement up to 50 percent for right-of-way and easement acquisition costs, and up to 80 percent for preliminary engineering, utility relocations, construction engineering and construction costs.  The required match is the responsibility of the project sponsor unless they qualify for state matching funds based on the Community Map score. 

State Funding

20 ILCS 2705-615 establishes supplemental state funding, set aside from the Road Fund, for projects in the categories of pedestrian and bicycle facilities and the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails. At least 25% of projects funded will be directed toward projects in high-need communities and the local matching funds required shall be determined based on a sliding scale based on the Community Map score. The state funds will provide matching funds to the federal funds on a sliding scale for those communities determined to be high need, as well as allow IDOT to award funds for additional ITEP projects. See ITEP Guidelines for further details.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants or project sponsors are local entities with taxing authority that can guarantee matching funds to carry out the proposed project.  Sponsors assume responsibility and accountability for the use and expenditure of program funds.  Applicants and/or implementing agencies must be able to comply with all the federal and state laws, regulations, policies and procedures required to enter into project agreements.

Under 23 U.S.C. 213(c)(4)(B), the eligible entities to receive ITEP funds are:

  • local governments;
  • regional transportation authorities;
  • transit agencies;
  • natural resource or public land agencies;
  • school districts, local education agencies, or schools;
  • tribal governments;
  • nonprofit entities;
  • MPO that represents an area with a population 200,000 or fewer;
  • a State, at the request of another eligible entity; and
  • any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for oversight of transportation that the State determines to be eligible.

MPOs representing urbanized areas over 200,000 population are not eligible entities. State agencies and MPOs may partner with any eligible entity project sponsor to carry out a project.

The project sponsor is responsible for the following:

  • Secure required sponsor match through cash, right-of-way donations, FFM, or other means
  • Complete environmental documents, clearances, permits and mitigation
  • Ensure necessary environmental studies and sign-off by appropriate federal, state and local agencies
  • Acquire local assurance from the proper authorities to ensure commitment
  • Complete GATA pre-award requirements
  • Submit all GATA documents required in the application
  • Complete all GATA periodic reporting requirements and consolidated year-end financial review CYFER
  • Coordinate project with Local IDOT District Office; conduct kick-off meeting
  • Provide a project milestone schedule
  • Schedule start dates for all types of work according to the award notification and Sunset Clause)
  • Acquire sponsor and agency joint agreements
  • Complete preliminary engineering
  • Prepare contract plans
  • Perform utility relocations (as required)
  • Manage, administer, and implement the project
  • Acquire necessary right-of-way and easements
  • Maintain the project after completion
  • Provide project status or timeline upon request
  • Responsible for the cost of all ineligible items

Project Categories

  1. Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities
  2. Streetscapes
  3. Conversion of Abandoned Railroad Corridors to Trails
  4. Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation of Historic Transportation Facilities
  5. Vegetation Management in Transportation Rights-of-Way
  6. Archaeological Activities Relating to Impacts from Implementation of a Transportation Project
  7. Storm Water Management, Control and Water Pollution Prevention or Abatement Related to Highway Construction or Due to Highway Runoff
  8. Reduce Vehicle-Caused Wildlife Mortality or Restore and Maintain Connectivity Among Terrestrial or Aquatic Habitats
  9. Construction of Turnouts, Overlooks, and Viewing Areas

Ineligible Items:

  • Road work (i.e. resurfacing)
  • Parking lots/parking spaces/striping that support traditional modes of transportation such as cars, trucks, and buses
  • General recreation and park facilities, playground equipment, sports fields, campgrounds, picnic areas and pavilions
  • Recreational trails
  • Equestrian and snowmobile trails
  • Bike sharing programs – capital and operational costs
  • Scenic or historic highway programs (including the provision of tourist and welcome center facilities)
  • Acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites
  • Routine maintenance and operation such as re-striping a trail, cleaning up debris or repairing broken curb
  • Trail resurfacing (maintenance)
  • Bike/bus/picnic shelters
  • Courthouses
  • Building purchase
  • Establishment of transportation museums
  • Landscape work (as a stand-alone project)
  • Storm sewers (see storm sewers in streetscape category)
  • Trash receptacles
  • Alleyway improvements
  • Bicycle lockers/racks (as a stand-alone project)
  • Pedestrian crossings (as a stand-alone project)
  • Street lighting (with no co-located alternate transportation facility or as a stand-alone project; unless in a designated historic district)
  • Pedestrian lighting (as a stand-alone project)
  • Fences (unless addressing a significant safety issue)
  • Benches (unless permanent in nature, limited use)
  • Utility Relocations 50% or more of the project’s total construction costs
  • Any work performed before FHWA authorization
  • Utility relocation as a result of a Federal-Aid funded roadway improvement such as a widening project
  • Provision of safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • State or MPO administrative purposes
  • Promotional activities
  • Feasibility and planning studies
  • Contingencies and inflation factors

Project Selection

Project Evaluation

All ITEP projects must be selected through a competitive process.  In order to comply with federal guidelines, IDOT has developed a numerical-based scoring process.  After IDOT receives the candidate project applications, an initial review will be conducted to determine eligibility and ensure GATA compliance.  All eligible project applications are organized and assigned to reviewers statewide for a more comprehensive review based on established review criteria listed below.  These reviewers consist of MPOs, IDOT districts, other state agencies and internal IDOT staff.  A Selection Committee will review the candidate projects in ranking order from highest to lowest and discuss the cut off for approval based on the funding available.

Review Criteria

  1. Eligibility
  2. Strength of transportation relationship
  3. Project meets category intent
  4. Public benefits and accessibility
  5. Cost effectiveness
  6. Project support / local commitment
  7. Connectivity to existing facilities / Linkage
  8. Prior sponsor investment
  9. Inclusion in a local, state or regional plan
  10. Planning and coordination
  11. Project sponsor capacity and past performance
  12. Project readiness
  13. Status of Land Acquisition
  14. Status of Phase I Engineering
  15. Application completeness/Information provided
  16. Safety Improvements

Project Selection and Approval

An award status notification letter will be sent to all applicants after the ITEP awards are announced.

If your project receives an ITEP award additional instructions and contact information will be included to aid in project initiation.

How to Apply

Resources

Program Guidelines

IDOT policy for the ITEP may be more restrictive than the federal rules for the TAP. For more information on project eligibility, refer to the ITEP Funding Guidelines or reach out to your IDOT District Local Roads and Streets Transportation Enhancement Coordinator.

ITEP Program Guidelines (if file does not open, right click on link, choose Open in New Tab; or download file and open the file from your download folder)

Frequently Asked Questions

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

Application Related

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. Do I need to provide a lot of detailed information?
    It is useful to provide as much detail as possible.  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.  Ensure you include details of any criteria that will be evaluated for project selection. i.e. Railroad agreements completed and included in application, ROW acquisition complete, other project readiness detail)
  4. 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 must be determined on a case by case basis. The ITEP guidelineslists eligible and ineligible elements for each specific category.  At any point, even after the Local Agency receives an ITEP award notification, a project element may be found ineligible if it does not meet federal or state ITEP guidelines.  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.
  5. 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.

Project Funding

  1. 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 $3 million per-project funding cap. In other words, the department will not award more than $3 million to any single project. The federal portion of eligible costs is 80% except for land acquisition and street lighting, which is funded at 50 percent for projects selected under the program.  See “State Funding” in the ITEP Guidelines for details on the match assistance available to projects in high need communities.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. If the Final PDR is submitted, ensure that the submittal date is included and can be verified in the application. Contact your respective IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator with any related inquiries.
  5. Is IDOT responsible for completing and approving the Project Development Report?
    Plans are evaluated by IDOT when the LPA approves and submits the Project Development Report.  Project plans require both IDOT and LPA approval and will not be approved without involvement of the LPA.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Contacts

Please send all general ITEP inquiries to DOT.ITEP@illinois.gov

To view a copy of a submitted application for ITEP Cycle 15, please make this request at DOT.ITEP@illinois.gov, subject line “ITEP Application Request”.  Please note that confidential information will be redacted in accordance with FOIA rules.​

DistrictDistrict Local Roads and
Streets Engineers
(local-sponsored projects)
1Charles Riddle
(847) 705-4201
2Shawn Ortgiesen (Acting)
(815) 284-5384
3Steve Chery
(815) 434-8426
4Tony Sassine
(309) 671-3690
5Brian Trygg
(217) 466-7252
6Brian Wright
(217) 782-4690
7Brett Walker
(217) 342-8259
8Rebecca Tharp
(618) 346-3330
9Jay Kranz
(618) 351-5260

IDOT Regional Map