About the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TA Set-Aside)

Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program are Federal highway and transit funds set-aside under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) for community-based “non-traditional” projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the nation’s intermodal transportation system. This funding category, which has historically funded many pedestrian and bicycle supportive projects such as streetscape improvements, was originally established by Congress in 1991 under the ISTEA transportation authorization legislation, and was most recently affirmed as TAP under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

Program Overview

Projects eligible for the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program must fall into one of the following seven categories.

  • Design and construction of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation.
  • Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized transportation users.
  • Construction of scenic turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.
  • Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities both land and water such as building structures and canals.
  • Community improvement activities, specifically: streetscaping and corridor landscaping.
  • Environmental mitigation to address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff.
  • Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats.

How to Maximize Your Chances of Success

Applying for Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TA Set-Aside) funding is time consuming and involves multiple requirements, which means multiple ways to miss something and not receive funding. However, there are ways to ensure your application does not get disqualified for simple mistakes and has the maximum opportunity to be considered for its merits. Here are some things to pay special attention to and to take advantage of to improve your chances of receiving TA Set-Aside funding.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Your responsible charge must be a full-time public employee. Part-time employees or employees of consultant firms or non-profits listed as responsible charge will disqualify your application.
  • Don’t forget to attach signed resolutions of support for your project. Applications must include signed resolutions of support for counties, municipalities, and any entity relevant to the project as well as maintenance commitments. Many applicants forget to attach resolutions or their attachments are not signed. Don’t overlook your resolutions. You will not have the opportunity to send them in after the application deadline has passed.

Schedule a One-On-One Meeting with NJDOT About Your Project

In conjunction with SJTPO, the NJDOT Division of Local Aid and Economic Development is requiring pre-application meetings for the upcoming Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TA Set-Aside) solicitation. Prospective applicants can discuss their project concept and get guidance on whether the proposed project is a good fit for the program. Applicants in the SJTPO region can schedule their meetings using this calendar.

Don’t wait until the last minute!

SJTPO is happy to assist you but will need time to help get you the answers or assistance you need. Give yourself the time to ensure you don’t make simple mistakes. You will not have the opportunity to correct mistakes after the application deadline has passed.

Didn’t receive funding for a Previous TA Set-Aside Application? Find out why!

Projects are selected on a competitive basis; however, some projects are disqualified due to easy to correct mistakes (unsigned resolutions, improper responsible charge, missing attachments, etc.). You can contact the New Jersey Department of Transportation for a debriefing about your application.

Any other questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us!

Contact Alan Huff at ahuff@sjtpo.org with any remaining questions. We will work to get the answer or direct you to someone who can.

Application Process

The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program is funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Aid Program and is being administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in partnership with the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).

County, municipal governments, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, natural resource or public land agencies, tribal governments, any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for oversight of transportation (other than a metropolitan planning organization or a State agency), and non-profit organizations  that are responsible for the administration of local transportation safety programs are eligible to apply to the program. Regardless of the type of applicant, the applicant must provide a responsible charge who meets federal requirements that they be a full-time employee of a local public agency (LPA). More information is available in NJDOT’s TAP FAQs.

The TA Set-Aside Application Guidance explains the infrastructure program’s eligibility requirements, guides the applicant through the application, and describes the process by which projects are selected.

All applicants will be required to submit their applications using SAGE (System for Administering Grants Electronically). Training and instructions on how to apply are available here.