SCDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TAP)

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) (officially known as the “Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside”) is a Federal reimbursement grant program funded through the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The Transportation Alternatives Program allows local governments and other eligible entities to apply for grants for a variety of non-motorized transportation projects. The Transportation Alternatives Program was originally authorized under the 2012 Federal Transportation Funding Act, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), and it replaced the early Transportation Enhancement grant program. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) continues funding the TA set-aside through 2026.

South Carolina’s TAP funds are allocated by FHWA based on 2 population groups: TMAs and Non-TMAs.

Transportation Management Areas (TMAs)

A Transportation Management Area is defined as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) with a population of 200,000 or greater. South Carolina currently has 6 TMAs. Each TMA must develop and utilize a competitive selection process to determine how its TAP funds are awarded. Applications for TAP projects located in a TMA should be submitted to its corresponding MPO. The MPO for each TMA is below. If you are uncertain if your project is located in a TMA, please reach out to the applicable MPO.

TMA TMA Description Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2024 TAP Allocation
ARTS Augusta Regional Transportation Study Augusta Planning & Development Department $334,275
CHATS Charleston Area Transportation Study Berkeley – Charleston-Dorchester COG $2,092,364
COATS Columbia Area Transportation Study Central Midlands COG $1,804,023
GPATS Greenville – Pickens Transportation Study Greenville County Planning Department $1,183,329
GSATS Grand Strand Area Transportation Study Waccamaw Regional Planning & Development Council $841,382
RFATS Rock Hill – Fort Mill Area Transportation Study Rock Hill – Fort Mill Transportation Study $729,903

Non-Transportation Management Areas

SCDOT manages the TAP funding for entities located in non-Transportation Management Areas. IIJA defined new population sub-groups for this category of funding, collectively referred to as the Rural and Small Urban Transportation Alternatives Program. The tentative funds available in these categories for the first 2024 TA funding round are shown below:

Area Population 2024 TA Allocation Estimates
Rural Less than 5,000 $9,600,000
Small Urban 5,000 to 49,999 $1,200,000
Small Urban 50,000 to 200,000 $2,300,000

Eligible Applicants

The following entities may apply for TA Funding:

  • Local governments
  • Regional Transportation Authorities
  • Transit Agencies
  • Natural Resource or Public Lands agencies
  • School Districts, local education agencies or schools
  • Tribal Governments
  • Nonprofits
  • Any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for, or oversight of transportation that the State determines to be eligible. This would include eligible COGs.
  • SCDOT, at the request of an eligible applicant
  • Eligible entities within a TMA’s boundaries that were not funded by the TMA (With approval from SCDOT)

Applicants may request that SCDOT administer their project, or they may apply to SCDOT to be a Local Public Agency (LPA) if they wish to administer the project themselves.

Eligible Projects

Planning, design and construction of:

  • On-road and off-road trail facilities for transportation purposes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation (Note: The term “pedestrians” is inclusive of all users of the pedestrian infrastructure, including persons with disabilities.)
  • Projects that will provide safe routes for non-drivers, including children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities to access daily needs
  • Safe Routes to Schools infrastructure (23 U.S.C. 208)
  • Projects listed in an applicable SCDOT, COG/MPO non-motorized transportation, bicycle, or other related plans
  • Projects that meet SCDOT’s Complete Streets Departmental Directive

Prioritization will be given to:

  • Projects that address documented safety issues, and are in a TIP, STIP, LRTP, or other planning document.
  • Projects that align with SCDOT’s Complete Streets Policy, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Plan, and TA-eligible projects / components of projects in SCDOT’s 10-Year Plan.
  • Projects that are located in and impact high-need areas of the state, as defined by the SC Department of Revenue’s County Development Tiers.

Grant Award & Match Requirements

TAP funds may be used for up to 80% of a project’s eligible costs. Generally, an applicant must provide 20% of the project’s cost as local match. Note: Projects located in Tier IV and III counties, as defined by the SC Department of Revenue, and projects in municipalities with populations under 5,000 may request to have a percentage of their non-federal match covered by SCDOT.

  • The minimum grant request is $400,000 (minimum total project cost of $500,000).
  • The maximum grand request may not exceed the funds available in each population category for that TAP round.
  • Local match must be non-federal funds, i.e. local, state or private funds; in-kind match is not accepted.
  • Applicants will be required to provide documentation that their match will be available upon grant award.
  • The applicant will be billed and must provide 100% of their match before the project can start.

Grant Performance Period

TAP funds are available for obligation for a period of three (3) years after the last day of the fiscal year for which the funds were authorized. Thus, funds are available for obligation for up to four (4) years.

Any TA funds not obligated within their performance period are subject to lapse, and will not be replaced by SCDOT. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to cover any lapsed funds as determined by SCDOT.

An entity must advance the project by having substantial work underway no less than 6 months after project award. If substantial work has not started after 6 months, SCDOT reserves the right to repeal its award.

Annual Funding Rounds

FHWA requires Transportation Alternative Set-Aside projects to be publicly solicited and selected through a competitive process carried out at the State and TMA levels. For the Rural and Small Urban TA Program, SCDOT will solicit applications twice a year, and will coordinate with the COGs and MPOs serving populations less than 200,000 to review and provide feedback on projects.

SCDOT will start accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) for the 2024 Round One on April 1, 2024. The LOI will be due back to SCDOT no later than Friday, May 3, 2024, by 4:00 pm.

2023 Round Two TAP Schedule

Issue Call for Letters of Intent (LOI) September 11, 2023
Deadline for Letters of Intent October 13, 2023 (by 4:00 pm)
Project Scope Review October-November, 2023
TAP Applications Sent to Qualified Applicants January 12, 2024
Applications Due February 16, 2024
Internal & External Application Reviews February – March 2024
TAP Award Approvals March 2024
Executed Financial Participation Agreements May 2024

Tentative 2024 Round One TAP Schedule

TAP Workshop March 25, 2024
Issue Call for Letters of Intent (LOI) April 1, 2024
Deadline for Letters of Intent May 3, 2024 (by 4:00 pm)
Project Scope Review May – June 2024
TAP Applications Sent to Qualified Applicants July 2024
Applications Due July 2024 (4:00pm, one month after applications are e-mailed to applicants)
Internal & External Application Reviews July – August 2024
[Issue call for 2024 second round LOI’s September 2024]
TAP Award Approvals September 2024
Issue of Award Letters September 2024
Executed Financial Participation Agreements November 2024

Note: SCDOT’s requests for TAP funding will be held annually in April and October.

For additional information:

March 25, 2024 TAP Workshop Recording