The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act eliminates the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and replaces it with a set-aside of Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program funding for transportation alternatives (TA). These set-aside funds include all projects and activities that were previously eligible under TAP*. The law requires selection of projects through a competitive process.

The application period is CLOSED.

The 2023 Call for Applications will go live on January 6, 2023. The application, instructions, and other information will be available at that time. A tentative schedule is provided below. There will be approximately $30 million in Transportation Alternatives funds available. There will continue to be separate categories for Capital Improvement applications and Pavement Preservation applications.

Important Update Regarding Application Reimbursement
As of November 23, 2022, communities with a population of less than 5,000 and Tribal communities that wish to receive an application reimbursement of $5,000, can now begin incurring costs. Please see the link on the right-hand side of this page titled “Application Reimbursement” for more information.

There have been some changes to the program with the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are some highlights:

  • An application reimbursement of approximately $5,000 will be allowed for applicants from small and disadvantaged communities. The communities that will be eligible for this reimbursement are communities with a population of less than 5,000 and tribal governments.
  • IIJA allows for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to administer their own competitive application process (with approval and oversight from MDT). Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls will be administering a competitive process for the TA funding that is specific to those areas (funding specific to areas with a population of over 50,000). Applications from entities within the MPO and the MPO itself may also apply with MDT’s Call for Application as well, as there is funding that is not population based.
  • The types of eligible entities have been expanded to also include non-profits and MPOs. Local governments, Tribal governments, and school districts continue to remain eligible entities. For non-profits to apply, MDT will require that they partner with a local government.

Tentative Schedule

December 2022/January 2023 Call for Applications is released
March/April 2023 Application period closes
July/August 2023 Application scoring is complete and tentative awarded projects announced
September/October 2023 Tentative awarded projects presented to the Transportation Commission for approval
November/December 2023 Funding, Construction & Maintenance Agreements are executed for each project
January – May 2024 Project development begins
2025 – 2027 Project bidding and construction

Advice for applicants to begin considering prior to the Call for Applications

  • Ensure there is public support for your project by engaging locals and organizations through discussions and public meetings.
  • Discuss the project with adjacent landowners to gain support, especially if right-of-way, easements, or construction permits are necessary.
  • Consider if your project involves utility impacts/relocations. If it does, begin discussions with the utility companies to get their approval on the project and work through concerns they may have.
  • Secure local match funding, if applicable (many projects will require 13.42% local matching funds)
  • Work with an engineer on the feasibility of the project, design details, and estimating the project costs and risks (is there enough right-of-way; what are the utility impacts; how will the drainage impacts be handled; etc.)
  • MDT has not programmed funding yet for the reimbursement of applications for small and disadvantaged communities, and likely won’t have funding programmed until November or December. Any costs incurred prior to MDT programming this funding will not be reimbursable. MDT will announce when this funding is available.
  • If your project is “on-system” (on an MDT route or right-of-way) begin discussing the project with the MDT District office to gain their approval and work through any concerns they may have.

If you have questions about the TA Program, please contact:

Dave Holien

Transportation Alternatives Engineer
Montana Department of Transportation
406-444-6118 | Email

* Eligible activities include a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to school projects, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity. Montana's Recreational Trails Program is administered by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department. RTP applicants can also apply for TA and RTP funding. MDT and FWP will keep each agency informed of awards granted through their programs. Information on the RTP can be found on the Recreation Grants website.