Submit an ATP Question
Use this handy form to submit a question.
Reference the ATP Toolkit
Frequently Asked Questions
Download the 2014 FAQs. See each section for updates.
This section has been updated for 2016 Cycle 3.
How do I submit the finished application? Please see page 2 of the application instructions. In addition to completing the electronic application, you must also submit five (5) hardcopies of the application, one original and four copies, to:
Division of Local Assistance
1120 N St, MS-1
Attn: Office of Active Transportation and Special Programs
Sacramento, CA 95814
You must also submit copies of your application to your MPO (if you live in an MPO region), plus to your County Transportation Commission or Regional Transportation Planning Agency. Check with your local MPO, CTC and RTPA for their submission requirements. The list of these agencies is available here.
When is the deadline for Cycle 3? June 15, 2016 by 11:59pm for the electronic application, postmarked by June 15 for the hardcopies.
Can the hardcopies be delivered by FedEx or UPS? Probably, but in past years the mailing address was a P.O. Box so they could not. You may be safest shipping by USPS. Check with your MPO, CTC and RTPA on their mailing requirements.
To whom should support letters be addressed to? Address to Caltrans at the address noted above and include with your application. Make sure the letter is on your company/agency letterhead.
Are there separate applications for infrastructure and non-infrastructure grants? No, all project types will apply using the same application. While some questions may seem like they do not apply to non-infrastructure projects, you still need to fill them out to the best of your ability.
Can more than one sub-project type be checked such as bicycle plan, safe routes to school plan and pedestrian plan? Yes, check all that apply.
How many years of data should I include in my grant application? The ATP guidelines do not require a specific time frame for data to be included in an application, but recent data is preferable.
Do subcontracts need to be called out in the application? No, subcontractors must be selected through a competitive bidding process, or an exemption must be approved through the Public Interest Finding process. Note that this applies to nonprofits, consultants or other agencies that will be working with you on the project. You can identify them in the application but they will still be subject to competitive bidding requirements in order to work on the project.
Do we need to secure approval of a Public Interest Finding (PIF) to subcontract without competitive bidding before we submit our application? No, you don’t need to secure PIF approval before submitting. The timing for PIF approval depends on the local Caltrans district office.
Does Caltrans have their own set of guidelines? Yes, it is available here and there is also additional guidance for non-infrastructure projects. These guidelines largely mirror the CTC Guidelines but provide additional details that you should read through before starting your application.
Resources & Outreach
This section has been updated for 2016 Cycle 3.
What resources are available to help me apply for funding?
- Caltrans hosted a working on the electronic application on April 27. The slides and recording are available here:
- Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Preparing for ATP Cycle 3 webinar (April 13, 2016):
- The SRTS Technical Assistance Resource Center’s resources for gathering data
Will you be holding workshops for Caltrans districts? No, this year Caltrans has not announced any district workshops. There was a webinar on April 27 with instructions on how to fill out the electronic application (see question above). Many MPOs and CTCs are holding ATP workshops, however. Check with your local agency for more information.
Is the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and/or Caltrans conducting outreach to school districts about the ATP Call for Projects? The National Partnership has been working to contact as many school districts as possible. If you have contacts, please connect us with them and invite them to our online resources.
How can my agency help communities promote SRTS? We have many helpful resources and guides for promoting Safe Routes to School in your community.
Where can I find information on successful Non-Infrastructure programs? See Success Stories at SRTS Technical Assistance Resource Center.
What is the background and motivation for creating the ATP? The Active Transportation Program was created by Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013) and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) to encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking. The Active Transportation Program consolidates existing federal and state transportation programs, including the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), and State Safe Routes to School (SR2S), into a single program with a focus to make California a national leader in active transportation. The statutes layout the goals of the Active Transportation Program.
This section has been updated for 2016 Cycle 3.
An ATP applicant must be eligible for “federal aid”. What does this mean in practice? Because the majority of funds in the Active Transportation Program are from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded federal-aid, applicants must be prepared to deliver proposed projects in compliance with federal laws, regulations, guidelines, and operating procedures. For additional information, refer to the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual.
Are Non Governmental Organizations eligible for the federal funding in the ATP? A majority of funds appropriated to the Active Transportation Program are from the federal Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program, formerly the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). While STBG makes nonprofit organizations eligible for certain types of projects, including non-infrastructure, the CTC and Caltrans have not made this change for Cycle 3. So nonprofit organizations are not eligible as direct recipients for TAP funds, but are eligible for federal Recreational Trails funds.
Are NGOs restricted to applying only for Rec Trails Program funds or are they also eligible to apply for park projects? The ATP guidelines allow private nonprofit tax-exempt organizations to apply for recreational trails and trailheads, park projects that facilitate trail linkages or connectivity to nonmotorized corridors, and conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails.
Can any public university apply? The guidelines state that public schools are eligible applicants; this includes public universities.
Can community colleges apply to fund on campus bikeways/ paths to connect to the street system? Yes
This section has been updated for 2016 Cycle 3.
Can there be more than one partner to the lead agency applicant? Are partners considered co-applicants, so they don’t have to competitively bid for their role? The guidelines do not limit the number of partners. The term co-applicant is not used in the guidelines, and the guidelines do not require that an implementing agency competitively bid for a partner applicant. Once awarded, the “Implementing Agency” for the project is required to follow an open and competitive process UNLESS they determine that it is in the Public’s interest not to follow a competitive process. The mechanism for approval of that exemption is a Public Interest Finding, and would need the Implementing Agency and Caltrans District Local Assistance Engineer approval.
Can implementing agencies sole-source with a specific entity, or must all subcontracts be competitively bid? The applicant would need to complete a PIF (Public Interest Finding) in order to subcontract with a non-profit or other entity without going through a competitive bidding process.
Does a Public Interest Finding (PIF) still need to be submitted if the application was developed jointly with an education and encouragement community partner? Yes, even if an entity is listed as a partner on the application, the entity is not exempt from competitive bid process requirements unless a PIF is submitted and approved by the Caltrans district. See Chapter 10 of the Local Assistance Procedures Manual for more information. A link will be provided on the Caltrans ATP page.
With what kind of agency does a private non-profit organization need to partner with to become eligible to apply for ATP Funds and to be able to enter in the Master Agreement? It depends on the type of project – NGOs can apply for Recreational Trails and park projects. For infrastructure projects: who will own the infrastructure after its completed? That is the natural applicant and implementing agency. Also, refer to eligible applicants as listed in the guidelines.
For non-infrastructure applications, can a city or school district name a non-profit partner that does the work? Will the lead applicant still need to do a request for proposals (RFP) for that work? The lead applicant can name a non-profit partner but should still do a RFP or can submit a Public Interest Finding (PIF) for approval for exemption from the competative bidding process if appropriate. Refer to the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual Chapter 10.
Would it be possible for Caltrans to simplify requirements for the PIF for certain organizations such as City Force? The PIF is a Federal requriment; and Caltrans cannot change or steamline the PIF process for the ATP or for any organization.
For a joint project between a City and school district where the city has a current Caltrans grant and the school district has not previously applied – any advice on who should apply as lead? Consider which agency is more familiar with the federal funding process and which agency will be maintaining the facility. It may be easier for the city to enter into a Master Agreement with Caltrans.
Does the city need to adopt a resolution with an executed agreement to partner with a school district prior to applying? This would depend on how the city and your school district are legally related. This is something you would need to discuss with your legal department.
Is documentation of the partnering implementation agreement required in the application for a school district to partner with a city if the project area falls within the city’s jurisdiction? An agreement must be executed between the parties before the grant funds can be allocated, but is not required at the time of application.
Can Caltrans partner with an RTPA to apply for funding, yet remain the implementing agency? Yes.
What is the best practice model for procuring services from community based organizations, who are too small to meet rigorous State/Federal contract compliance guidelines? All parties must be eligible to receive Federal funds.
What is a Master Agreement? A Master Agreement is a required contract prepared by Caltrans (Division of Local Assistance) that must be executed with a local agency that is seeking reimbursement of funds from the Federal-Aid Highway Program and State Highway Account, such as the ATP funds. Through a Master Agreement between the local public agency and the State, the local agency agrees to comply with all federal and state laws, regulations, policies and procedures relative to the various phases of project development. Entities that are unable to enter into a Master Agreement with the State must partner with agencies that can and comply with federal and state requirements. For additional information about Master Agreements, refer to Chapter 4 of the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual or contact Teresa McWilliam, Caltrans Active Transportation Program Manager (email@example.com, 916-653-0328).
Does an applicant need to have a master agreement with Caltrans? Applicants must be able to comply with all the federal and state laws, regulations, policies and procedures required to enter into a Master Agreement. An executed Master Agreement is not required at time of application, but it will be required at time of allocation/authorization if awarded funds.
Are public health departments and schools required to enter a master agreement? Yes, all project implementing agencies are required to enter into a master agreement prior to allocation of funding. See the Master Agreement information here.
Under the ATP, do Master Agreements with tribes still require that tribes waive their tribal sovereignty? There will be a limited waiver of sovereignty
Will there be a process to ensure that master agreements are put in place in a timely manner? Information about the Master Agreement process can be found here (scroll down to #6).
Will there be a standard master agreement with Caltrans? What if we need a customized master agreement? Information about the Master Agreement process can be found here (scroll down to #6).
Where can we verify master agreement contract info? (I found a number but I’m not sure if it’s state or federal) Contact your District Local Assistance Engineer to verify your Master Agreement information.
Can a single agency apply for more than one project? Yes, there is no limit to the number of projects an applicant can submit.
Is it possible for the selection committee to recommend partial funding if a project is large enough to have multiple useable segments? Yes. An applicant must outline all of their possible segments (that each meet independent utility, etc) with separate costs, and the selection committee can decide how much they want to fund.
Can staff time be funded? Project sponsors are allowed to seek reimbursement of indirect costs (i.e. staff time) with prior approval of an indirect cost rate from Caltrans Audits and Investigations. Additional information can be found in Chapter 5 of the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual.
If we create a salaried position with the ATP grant, could it be combined with a current Safe Routes to School coordinator position? It could be; but the tracking may be easier with separate projects.
Is a proposal for a series of small access projects (pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, signage etc.) around several stations on an existing commuter rail line eligible? Yes, if it will contribute to the goals of the ATP.
Are sidewalk repairs, landscaping and trees eligible? Landscaping can be incidental expense, sidewalk repair might not be if its from poor maintenance. Facility, ADA, safety will matter. Don’t preclude it, but do explain it’s important.
Are catch basins associated with sidewalk construction eligible? This is usually an incidental cost and should be under 10% of the total cost.
Are roundabouts eligible for funding under the infrastructure portion? Infrastructure improvements are eligible that meet the goals of the ATP. For example, if the roundabout increases safety or access for walking and bicycling, it could be eligible for the ATP.
Will ADA infrastructure projects be eligible as a stand alone project? No, the project must address the goals of the ATP, and would not be eligible if the project only consists of ADA improvements.
Would an ADA Implementation Plan for a disadvantaged community be eligible for non-infrastructure grant? The guidelines do not specifically prohibit such a project, but it would need to demonstrate how it furthers the goals of the program.
How does Caltrans define a multi-use trail? Caltrans describes multipurpose trails in the Highway Design Manual (section 1003.5) as being developed for hikers, joggers, equestrians, bicyclist, etc. Usage of the facility is not specified (e.g. recreational, commute, etc.).
What is the difference between an “Active Transportation” project and a “Safe Routes to School” project? A Safe Routes to School project must specifically benefit public school students and with the exception of non-infrastructure activities, must be located within 2 miles of a public school or school bus stop.
In a rural tribal community the closest school may be more than 2 miles from the reservation. Could we still qualify for Safe Routes to School funds? Would the distance hinder an application for infrastructure funding? The project must be within 2 miles of the school to qualify for the Safe Routes to Schools funding, but the other qualifications of the community sound like it fits well with the goals of the program.
Are shovel-ready projects preferred? If so, how is project readiness reflected in scoring criteria? For example, some project have CA environmental clearance (CEQA), but not federal environmental clearance (NEPA) because they didn’t anticipate using federal funds. Would that project be positioned well for implementation in Cycle 3? Yes, shovel-ready projects are preferred. It is not part of the scoring criteria, but projects will be programmed based on the when they request allocation, dependent on the project schedule provided by the applicant in the application. The ATP does have some state-only funds, which you can request exclusively if this will be an issue for your project.
Are multi-year project phases eligible for infrastructure funding, such as preliminary engineering, right of way, and construction? All phases of construction projects are eligible, as long as the applicant can meet the project delivery milestones in the ATP guidelines.
Can a project ask for funding of only project delivery costs or preliminary engineering in this cycle, with the intent to seek future funds for a future construction phase? If a proposal does not include the construction phase the applicant must indicate where the construction funds will be coming from.
Should the proposed projects be on the functional classification map? No the projects do not have to be on a federal-aid route. They can be on local streets.
How “shovel ready” should an infrastructure or trail project be at the time of application? Because Cycle 3 funds are for FY19-20 and FY20-21, projects do not have to be as shovel-ready as in previous rounds, but project readiness is still important to the evaluation criteria.
If an agency submits 2 applications, will both be considered equally or is there a requirement that the awards be distributed regionally rather than simply by the comptetiveness of the projects? The ATP is a competitive program and, with exception to SCAG’s regional program, geographic balance/equity is not a criteria for selecting projects.
Can any of the following be included in an non-infrastructure only application: bike racks, skateboard/scooter racks, traffic cones or signs for drop off/pick up control? No, these are infrastructure items. Please read the Non-Infrastructure guidance to see what can be funded.
How will you address the potential for overlapping scopes across multiple projects? Is it allowable to submit certain components of proposals in multiple applications if they relate to more than one project scope? Applications will be evaluated separately as presented. To avoid preparation of multiple applications, an applicant may present scalable options in their submittal.
Safe Routes to School Projects
What happened to the old SRTS funding program? The old Safe Routes to School Program was consolidated into the Active Transportation Program. Safe Routes to School grants are now available through the ATP.
What is the scope of “Safe Routes to School” projects, does this include high schools or just elementary and middle schools? Federal funds are only available for K-8 schools, but because ATP includes state funding, high school projects are allowed as well. Any public schools can be included in Safe Routes to School projects, including high schools and charter schools.
Does the 2 mile radius for Safe Routes to School projects apply for each school, including high schools? Yes, the 2 mile requirement applies to all schools in the proposed project if you are building infrastructure. The radius does not apply to non-infrastructure projects.
Are charter schools considered “public schools”? Yes, if they receive public funds and are not for profit.
Can we apply for a Safe Routes to School project that will impact several or all schools in our district? Yes, multiple schools can be included in one application. Your application will be more competitive if you can explain the programmatic link between the schools.
For a proposal that includes multiple schools, how many school officials would be required to sign the application? All of the schools included in the project should be listed as well as all the additional information for all of the schools. The school official(s) responsible for all of the schools will need to sign the application.
Does the school have to be a co-applicant for a Safe Routes to School project, or does a letter of support from the school suffice? A school does not have to be a co-applicant. If the school is not a co-applicant then a letter of support is needed.
Are Safe Routes to School projects exempt from the $250,000 minimum funding request? Yes
For Safe Routes to School projects is there maximum award limit? Is there a fixed number of grants that will be awarded? There is not a maximum award or a fixed number of grants that will be awarded.
Are projects at school bus stops beyond 2 mile radius from a school eligible as a Safe Routes to School project? Projects in the vicinity of a public school bus stop are eligible.
Can Safe Routes to School funding be used to pay teachers who come into schools and teach SRTS curricula? ATP will fund “Hiring a Program Manager to coordinate SRTS efforts and volunteers at several schools.” See the Non-Infrastructure Guidance for specific details on staff time.
In the past, SR2S projects encouraged applicants to apply for up to 10% of construction costs for educational purposes. Is this being considered in the ATP? if it is, can it be done to pay for staff costs? The 10% rule is not applicable for ATP. Non-Infrastructure projects can be stand alone projects or combined with construction projects are are not limited to any percentages. Staff costs are limited to only those activities specific to a safe routes to school function.
Can computers, tablets or printers be purchased for SRTS coordinators? Scanners and related equipment (e.g. Barcode tags for computer-based active transportation data collection efforts). See the Non-Infrastructure Guidance for specific details
Can we use ATP funds to expand an online SRTS carpool matching program? Please refer to the goals of the program in the ATP guidelines. Projects that compete well will directly meet the goals of the program. In this case, you should consider demonstrating how the carpool matching program would increase rates of walking and biking.
For a proposal with multiple components, some of which are Safe Routes to School projects, is it better to separate them into different applications, or can they be combined? They can be combined, but it will be up to the applicant to analyze what will be most effective in terms of the scoring criteria. Also, be sure to consider whether there is a natural link between the components that are combined.
If part of my project includes Safe Routes to School, is the entire project exempt from the $250,000 minimum? If the project predominantly qualifies as a safe routes to school project, the minimum request for funds does not apply.
Is pairing infrastructure projects with non-infrastructure safety education encouragement a good idea to increase the public health benefits? If paired, should the scope only include programs for the immediate community, or could we include the same programs being carried out in other areas of a rural county? Possibly, it depends on the proposal. You should demonstrate how the infrastructure and NI components are related within the same application.
Can we apply for funding to continue a program that has been in place for a couple of years already? Or is funding only for new programs? Non-Infrastructure funding is intended to focus on pilot and start up projects that can demonstrate funding for ongoing efforts. ATP funding is not intended to fund ongoing program operations. But starting with Cycle 3, you can apply to expand a program or add a new element. See the CTC Guidelines, page 6.
Why must non-infrastructure programs demonstrate ongoing funding to sustain the program beyond an ATP grant? What other sources of funding are available? It is the intent of the ATP to fund new Safe Routes to School programs, and starting with Cycle 3, expand or add new elements. See the CTC Guidelines, page 6. ATP is meant to fund sustainable projects and programs, so in addition to the ATP grant, applicants must identify other sources of funding that can sustain the program. We recognize there are limited sources of funding available, but listing a few potential sources could suffice for purposes of the application.
If an agency is currently working on a Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure grant, will that be considered a negative to receiving additional NI funding? No
Can a private non-profit apply for Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure funds on its own? No.
Does the program allow paying for crossing guard salaries or training? Not for salaries, funding can be used for crossing guard training only.
Our City has a deficiency in the number of police officers available for bike/ped enforcement around around local elementary schools during peak school times. Can we submit a non-infrastructure application that seeks funding solely for enforcement at all locations? Funding can be used to pay for the additional enforcement time needed, but cannot be used to create a new police officer position.
A city would like to apply for an infrastructure project with the 10 percent allocation for non-infrastrucure component (rule under the old SR2S program). Could these funds be used to pay for the SRTS coordinator? The 10% rule used under previous safe routes grant cycles is not applicable for ATP.
Can ATP fund a bike-a-thon coordintor staff time if bike-a-thons pay for education program for middle school kids learning ride bikes on urban roadways? Possibly. A bike-a-thon does not seem to fit into a safe routes to school program, but may be applicable as a general ATP project. You would need to explain how the bike-a-thon coordinator is relevent to the overall goal of the ATP program and not just to a single event.
Have successful SRTS Non-infrastructure programs given volunteers a stipend? Yes, some successful programs have benefited from providing stipends to volunteers. Please review the Non-Infrastructure Guidance for eligible volunteer expenses.
For a stand alone non-infrastructure grant do we need to address the cost/benefit ratio (narrative question 4)? Yes, that question is required for all projects. One of the links in the application can be used as model to calculate NI benefits.
Can you explain how to answer narrative question 2 (“estimate # of students living along the route proposed for improvements”) for non-infrastrucuture programs? A NI project should discuss the number of students in the area effected by the project.
Can we request funding for schools who want to increase walking at school (at recess/during lunch/ after school) through walking programs, and not to school? The Safe Routes to School funding is for getting to and from school. However, one of the ATP goals is to enhance public health, including reduction of childhood obesity, so an application that meets that goal will be eligible.
Would a county-wide strategic plan be competitive for non-infrastructure funding? Safe Routes to School plans are an eligible source of planning funding, especially those for disadvantaged communities. Whether a specific plan is competitive for funding or not would depend on the strength of the application and the need in the community, and the extent to which the proposal will meet the goals of the ATP.
We have an an active/current SRTS NI project that has walk audits in the work plan. However, no funds were programmed for the walk audit. Can we apply for another project to fund those walk audits? ATP funding is pilot and start-up non-infrastructure projects. Ongoing program operations are not eligible.
Recreational Trails Projects
How will Caltrans determine if the project will be considered only for Rec Trails Program funds? What role will State Parks have in helping to select RTP projects? Recreational Trails applications should be sent to CA Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) for a compliance review. State Parks will need to review all applications for eligibility where the applicant has marked Recreational Trails (RTP) as the project type. Those projects that State Parks deems eligible as RTP will eligible for the RTP specific funds.
What criteria will Caltrans use to determine if a trail is strictly recreational versus providing both a recreational and a transportation function? The application asks whether the project is a Rec Trails project type, as well as the type of users and their destination.
We are doing a rails-to-trails project. Am I correct in assuming we don’t need to do a pre-construction bike/ped count as it is currently undeveloped land? Before and after pedestrian and/or bicycle counts will be required of all ATP projects.
Disadvantaged Community Funding
“For a project to contribute toward the Disadvantaged Communities funding requirement, the project must clearly demonstrate, with verifiable information, a direct, meaningful, and assured benefit to a disadvantaged community. To count as providing a benefit, a project must fulfill an important need of low-income people in a way that provides a significant benefit and targets its benefits primarily to low-income people while avoiding substantial burdens on a disadvantaged community. For a project to qualify as directly benefiting a disadvantaged community, the project must be located within or in reasonable proximity and have a direct connection, to the disadvantaged community served by the project; or the project must be an extension or a segment of a larger project that connects to or directly adjacent to that disadvantaged community. It is incumbent upon the applicant to clearly articulate how the project benefits the disadvantaged community; there is no presumption of benefit, even for projects located within a disadvantaged community.”
Do I have to meet all three criteria to be defined as a disadvantaged community? No, you can choose between median household income, free & reduced price lunch and CalEnviroScreen. Meeting more than one of these criteria does not improve your score on this question of the application – it simply serves as a screening criteria.
How do I verify that my community meets one of the criteria? See page 17 of the Application Instructions to find the links to the data sources. The electronic application also provides automated scoring of this question.
What defines the geographical boundary of a “community,” i.e. zip code or census tract where the infrastructure project will occur? It depends on the criteria used by the applicant – see page 17 in the application instructions. An applicant can also submit a community criteria for consideration, and it will be up to the application review teams to decide if the alternate definition is acceptable.
How do I explain the “direct benefit” provided to the disadvantaged community? Applicants must demonstrate that the project provides a direct, meaningful and assured benefit to a disadvantaged community. While this question is subjective, applicants should provide evidence of community outreach, visuals showing the condition of existing infrastructure and other information that can show that the community is truly disadvantaged and this project will improve conditions for people walking and biking there.
Are matching funds required for infrastructure projects benefiting disadvantaged communities? No there is no match requirement for any ATP project as of Cycle 2 (2015).
Will an existing report from a Caltrans Environmental Justice Planning Grant be beneficial to an application? The answer would depend on the success of the planning grant and the specific project proposal. It is likely that the data collected to demonstrate needs for the EJ Planning Grant would benefit your application as a disadvantaged community for ATP funds.
As part of a planning grant, can we include further public outreach to refine our results, collect more data and confirm the best proposals for future infrastructure applications (we already have a bike/ped plan)? Or is the planning grant really to be used more for the planning, engineering, design components of a very specific project to get it to the “shovel ready”” state? You can apply for a planning grant for a disadvantaged community only. The planning grant could include all additional work need to complete the plan. For more information on what must be included in an active transportation plan see the CTC adopted Active Transportation Plan guidelines section “Active Transportation Plan.”
For planning grants, very few projects that require planning funds could already have construction funds identified, especially for master plans for a school or district. Are planning applications required to have construction funds identified? Funds requested for active transportation plans are requested for and programmed in the Construction phase.
Narrative Questions & Scoring Criteria: Safety
How do we demonstrate potential for reducing number of pedestrian/bicycling injuries when we have no collision data? How can new facilities demonstrate compliance with Narrative Question #3? Photos of the location should indicate what the issues are. Also there should be evidence of public hearings or input, showing that there really is demand for the improvements.
Under Question 3 of the Narrative Questions, how do you differentiate between ‘significant’ potential and ‘moderate’ potential in regards to the scoring? Include what mechanisms you have used, since this is the first round your application may be stacked against other applications.
Will FHWA crash-reduction factors be good to include? List all of your assumptions and resources that will support your application.
Narrative Questions & Scoring Criteria: Public Participation
What defines ‘documentation of public participation process’? Will a walk audit report work? Or an agenda from a public meeting? Walk audits, public meeting agendas, meeting minutes, sign in sheets are all considered appropriate documentation.
Since part of the purpose of non-infrastructure Safe Routes to School grants is to enhance community engagement, what level of community engagement is expected before the application is submitted? That is dependent on the type of project you are applying for. You should try and explain all of the community involvement to date or what involvement you are planning.
Narrative Questions & Scoring Criteria: Cost Effectiveness
Do you have examples of how to quantify safety and mobility related to cost? Do other project benefits, such as greenhouse gas reductions, other environmental benefits, or community economic support factor into cost effectiveness? The instructions provide resources to refer to; or the applicant can supply or develop their own resources & assumptions.
Do you have any advice about preparing a cost effectiveness analysis for multi-use trail projects? See the suggestions in the ATP Application Instructions.
We are planning to request funding for a segment of our project (1 mile of 4 miles). When calculating cost benefit ratio, should we use the entire length of the project or just the smaller portion for which funding? The benefit should be compared to cost of the project being proposed in the application.
Narrative Questions & Scoring Criteria: Conservation Corps
Are all applicants required to contact the Conservation Corps, even in remote rural areas? Yes, you will lose points if you do not address this aspect of the application.
For Section IV, question 7, are we required to contact both the CCC and the CALCC? Yes, you must contact both.
Does the Conservation Corps requirement apply to non-infrastructure? Yes
For reaching out to the CCC, can they play a role in maintenance of a bike path? This program doesn’t fund maintenance. Contact the CCC for information on what they are able to work on.
Are the Conservation Corps ready to respond on each application? Yes. The California Conservation Corps and local conservation corps have participated in the development of the ATP are aware of their involvement in the application process.
Is there a maximum funding amount for projects? No, there is no maximum.
Is there a maximum funding amount per agency or per county? No
What are the exceptions to the $250,000 minimum funding amount? Does the $250,000 minimum application amount apply to combined (infrastructure/non-infrastructure) applications? Yes, the $250,000 minimum applies to all projects EXCEPT Safe Routes to School projects, stand-alone non-infrastructure projects, and Recreational Trails projects.
Do Safe Routes to School projects have a minimum or maximum funding limits? No
The guidelines say any federal, state or local funds can qualify as match – can you please confirm there are no restrictions on source of match, other than the provisions for being in same project phase, and spent concurrently & proportionally to ATP funds? Yes, confirmed.
Is ATP all federally funded or is any portion of it state funded such as the Safe Routes to School portion? The ATP includes both federal and state funds. The intent is to put state funds on the smaller projects and federalize large projects so that fewer projects have to go through that process. But you can request state-only funds o the application.
If we apply for and receive ATP funds for only a portion of a project that is phased over several years, will every additional phase of the project be required to follow the same federal funding requirements even if some phase have 100% local funds? What if the first phase has all local funds and goes to bid prior to the ATP grant award, but the next phase uses federal funds? Any portion of the project that is covered by the NEPA document and uses federal funds must follow that federal process.
Can an applicant apply for pre-construction funding for a sizeable project that includes environmental clearance, community outreach, and preliminary design? If the proposal does not include the construction phase you need to indicate where your construction funds will be coming from.
If an applicant just applies for pre-construction costs – how can they meet minimum project size of $250,000? Presumably the cost estimate of the entire project would be higher than the minimum size requirement. If they are using 25% of construction cost to estimate pre-construction, then the construction amount would need to be at least $1 million.
Does my infrastructure project need to be programmed in the FTIP or in another plan? One of the screening criteria is consistency with a regional transportation plan, so theoretically, yes, but most ATP projects can be added to an RTP and/or FTIP as part of the MPO/RTPA/CTC amendment process. If a project is awarded federal funds from the ATP, the project will need to be programmed in the FTIP before allocation of funding, but not at the time of application. Most RTP’s have a goal to increase non-motorized transportation, so almost all ATP projects would be consistent with one, but check with your local agency first.
Can ATP funds be used as a match for other funding programs such as for Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Program funds (CMAQ)? Matching abilility will be dependent on the type of fund allocated for an awarded project. State funds can be used a match for federal funds and, under certain situations, the federal funds approriated to program can be used a match for other federal funds.
Do we need to include a budget with the NI Schedule Information (VII) for a stand alone NI SRTS application? Yes, your discussion of NI work should include a budget.
What restrictions are placed on the percentage of ATP funds in a successful application that can be spent on overhead, staff time, project management costs etc.? Indirect costs may be included when seeking reimbursement with prior approval of an indirect cost rate approved by Caltrans Audits and Investigations. Refer to Chapter 5 or the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual.
Since the ATP is a State of California program, is federal environmental clearance (NEPA) required? The ATP is largely funded with federal funds, so most projects will be required to file for NEPA clearance.
My project has NEPA clearance through the US Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Is this adequate for FHWA? Not usually. You can probably reuse your tech studies, but Caltrans will issue our own document.
Are we required to provide right-of-way certification to Caltrans per FHWA requirements? Yes, even if right-of-way (ROW) isn’t required you must provide ROW certification, with exceptions for non-infrastructure projects.
Do ATP projects that involve acquisitions need to have appraisals prepared to yellow book standards/UASFLA? If so, will the appraisals be reviewed by Caltrans staff or by DGS? The Uniform Act must be followed on all local agency projects if any fund type (federal or state) appropriated to the Active Transportation Program. Caltrans monitors local agency’s procedures for right of way appraisals for local assistance projects for compliance with applicable State and federal laws and regulations. For additional information, refer to Chapter 13 of the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual.
Is the ATP a reimbursement program or could a successful applicant receive advanced funds from the ATP to finance planning, design, permitting, etc.? The project sponsor must incur the expenditures prior to invoicing Caltrans for reimbursement of their costs.
Could you explain the mechanism for reimbursements when partnering agencies are implementing a project? Would my school district file for the reimbursement on behalf of the partnered agency? The applicant is responsible for all administration of the grant. If the school district is the applicant then they would request the reimbursements.
Can you clarify how long applicants submitting a stand alone NI SRTS application have to spend the funding? Once awarded, when is funding availlable? The funds must be expended 3 years after the year of award
What is the grant period for non-infrastructure projects? Is it the same as for infrastructure projects? Yes, the project delivery requirements apply to all projects.
Can an agency use consultants currently under contract to perform some of the non-infrastructure tasks – such as the planning consultant procurement, organizing walking busses and coordinating discussions with PTAs/schools? You would have to do submit a Public Interest Finding (PIF) for approval in order to justify not using the procurement process.
Can you provide clarification on the required timelines for all project phases? The ATP instructions refer to the STIP required delivery schedule, with 36 month to complete (accept) contract. Does this apply to planning/design phase contracts or construction and what if the project grant request does not include construction phase? Please refer to Chapter 23 of the Local Assistance Proceedures Manual. If your grant does not include the construction phase you need to indicate where your construction funds will be coming from.
Project delivery requirements in the guidelines state that the applicant must submit for allocation within the programmed year. Does this mean that a Request for Authorization (E-76) for construction must be submitted by June 30, 2015? If the project has construction programmed in FY14/15, then the Allocation request must be submitted by June 30, 2015; and the E-76 completed within 6 months after. If the construction is programmed for FY15/16 the the allocation request must be subnitted by June 30, 2016 and the E-76 approved within 6 months after that.
Will we need to go to CTC for allocation of funds prior to submittal for Request for Authorization (E-76) for Construction? Yes
What is a realistic timeline for pre-construction work for a project currently in concept phase? Can we realistically program all phases in this round of ATP? The applicant needs to determine the project timeline.
What/when is the construction phase as it pertains to Preliminary Plans and Detailed Engineer’s Estimates? The construction phase cannot begin until after the PS&E and Right-of-way process is complete.
For a school project, will there be strict adherence to meeting CAMUTCD traffic signal warrants, if a signal is proposed? If you are deviating from CAMUTCD you will need to include documentation that it has been vetted within your agency.
If our project is also applying for another federal grant, such as TIGER, how do you handle the environmental clearance? Do you conduct two environmental clearances – one for ATP and another for TIGER (CEQA/NEPA)? You will need to do NEPA for the ATP portion.
What are the projected start/end dates for approved projects to obligate their funding? Projects should be obligated in the respective federal fiscal year (October – September) they are programmed. To receive an approval by FHWA in a federal fiscal year, the deadline for submitting Requests for Authorization to the District Local Assistance Engineer has typically been mid-July.
Allocation of Funding
How many years of funding are in Cycle 3? The funding cycle covers fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Can an applicant receive funds from more than one pot of ATP funds? Applicants submit projects for consideration of Active Transportation Program funds, but do not specify the type of funds from the program (e.g. TAP, SHA, other federal). The programming of specific funds appropriated to the Active Transportation Program on projects is determined by Caltrans after applications have been scored and ranked.
If our project qualifies for more than one pot of money (e.g. Disadvantaged Community and Safe Routes to School) should we submit two applications for the same project? Disadvantaged Community and Safe Routes to School projects are project type requirements in the Active Transportation Program. They are not types of funds appropriated to the program.
If a project is awarded ONLY federal funds, will the project allocation/authorization of funds only need to go thru Caltrans or does the project also require CTC approval for allocation? If your project is selected there will be a funds allocation through CTC, once that happens then an E-76 through Caltrans will be needed
Do all projects need to go through CTC approval for allocation with the required paperwork from Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual? Yes, all ATP projects will require CTC allocation.
Will award amounts be based on population? No, award amounts are not dependent on population.
When will funding become available to awarded projects? For Cycle 3, funding will not be available for several years since it is programmed for fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21. But the California Transportation Commission is scheduled to adopt the statewide and rural/small urban components of the program in December 2016 and the MPO component in March 2017. Implementing agencies will be able to request allocation/authorization after awarded projects have been programmed and approved in the Federal Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP).
When will awarded agencies receive federal “authorization to proceed” (E-76)? Upon submitting a complete request for authorization, approval can vary from 6-8 weeks.
Will there be geographic equity when the CTC awards statewide competition funds? Are applications from the same region scored competitively against each other to limit the amount of funding in one area? The CTC will establish a project selection committee and will consider geographic equity in selecting members for the review committee. The statewide competition will rank projects according to the scoring criteria in the guidelines, not by geographic location.
Can you please verify that the application review groups will represent multiple disciplines, and not be weighted with the engineering profession, especially for the NI projects? The ATP guidelines require the CTC to create multidisciplinary Project Evaluation Committees (PECs). In the past two cycles, there were many public health, Safe Routes to School and disadvantaged community experts serving as evaluators.
Statewide award announcements are after the MPO call for projects. How will the statewide applications be submitted to the MPOs? Any applications not receiving awards in the statewide competition will automatically be forwarded to the MPO for consideration in the regional competition.
Will any local input be given for scoring applications? Representatives from local agencies are participating on the Project Evaluation Committee.
Who will score rural applications? A multidisciplinary Project Evaluation Committee consisting of participants with expertise in bicycling and pedestrian transportation.
MPO (Large Urban) Competitions
If an MPO chooses to use the Caltrans ATP guidelines and NOT submit their own optional alternative ATP guidelines then will applications for the 40% large urban area MPO pot of funds also be due on June 15, 2016 along with the statewide competition applications? Yes, unless the MPO elects to open a separate call for applications.
Will MPO Competition applicants be given the chance to re-write their applications to address changes in how their MPO will score applications? Projects not selected for programming in the statewide competition must be considered in the large MPO run competition or the state Small Urban or Rural competitions. The eligibility of projects is determined by the Active Transportation Program and not flexibility provided to the MPOs in administering their competitive selection process. An MPO, with Commission approval, may use different project selection criteria or weighting, minimum project size, match requirement, or definition of disadvantaged communities for its competitive selection process.
What are the expectations around evaluation? Refer to page 19 in the CTC Guidelines for project reporting requirements for all projects.
What resources are there to help collect and analyze data? A technical assistance resource center will be funded by the program to assist, but as a condition of project allocations, implementing agencies are responsible for submitting semi-annual reports on the activities and progress.
Future Funding Cycles
Is the ATP institutionalized at this point? The guidelines state that Caltrans must adopt an AT program by April 1 of every odd-numbered year. Funding for the program is subject to appropriations in the Annual Budget Act.
Do you anticipate that the 60/40 split of Rec Trails Program funds will continue over the next couple years, assuming Congress reauthorizes the program? We will assume so; until told otherwise.
How will the Statewide/MPO Competitions be scheduled in future cycles? Will the state competitive applications and the MPO applications be due on the same date or will this rollout of sequential RFP’s remain in effect? The effectiveness of the sequential project selection process will be evaluated in the development of future cycles.
When will the next round of ATP funding occur? Since the ATP must be adopted by April 1 of every odd-numbered year, Cycle 4 will likely occur sometime in 2018 and be for fiscal years 2021-22 and 2022-23. This is subject to change, however.