Overview of Bicycle Funding Sources
Bicycle facilities, both on-street and off, are funding through a variety of sources. Eligibility for most federal aid programs for bicycle infrastructure is determined by the transportation component, rather than the recreational component, of the project. A notable exception to this rule is the Recreational Trails Program.
State funding for the construction of bicycle facilities both on-street and off is available through programs administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), and includes funds provided directly by the state, as well as “pass-through” funds provided by the federal government.
Please click on a sub-category to the left to learn more about various types of bicycle funding.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program (BPFP) funds projects that construct or plan for bicycle or bicycle/pedestrian facilities. Approved projects are reimbursable at 80% of the cost, and a local match of 20% is required.
In the 2009-2011 biennial budget, the BPFP received $5 million in state funding thanks to the efforts of bicycling supporters throughout the state. This is in addition to the $2.72M in federal funding that the BPFP receives each year. The BPFP is managed in conjunction with the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program (see below).
Additional information is available on the WisDOT website about funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including information about other assistance programs and past projects.
Contact: John Duffe, WisDOT or call (608) 264-8723.
Transportation Enhancement Program
Transportation Enhancements are transportation-related, community-based projects that are designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of transportation systems. The federal Transportation Enhancements program provides funding for the implementation of a wide variety of non-traditional projects ranging from the restoration of historic transportation facilities to improved bike and pedestrian facilities. Transportation enhancements are part of the Wisconsin’s Statewide Multi-modal Improvement Program (SMiP), which provides an 80% reimbursement for approved projects. A local match of 20% of the project’s cost is also required.
A majority of the TE grants awarded in Wisconsin have been for bicycle facilities, including multiuse trails, paved shoulders, bike lanes, bicycle route signage, bicycle parking, overpasses/underpasses/bridges and sidewalks.
In order to qualify for TE funds, a project must relate to surface transportation. Federal regulations restrict the use of funds on trails allowing motorized users, with the exception of snowmobiles. The Federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21) specified that safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists are eligible for transportation enhancements funding.
While TE is a federally-funded program, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is responsible for the administration of the program locally. Local governments, community organizations and non-profit groups can submit proposals to WisDOT for evaluation. Successful applications must demonstrate how the project relates to surface transportation. Also, it is extremely important to show how the remaining 20% of the project will be funded.
The TE program is a great opportunity for local bicycle supporters to make great things happen in their communities.
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program funds projects and programs aimed at reducing automobile travel and/or emissions in areas that have failed to meet air quality standards for ozone, carbon monoxide, and small particulate matter. More than $8.6 billion was authorized nationally over the last five-year funding period (2005-2009) nationally.
The funds are only available in the southeastern Wisconsin ozone non-attainment and maintenance counties: Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Door.
Contact: John Duffe, WisDOT, 608-264-8723
Highway Safety Improvement Program
Bicycle and pedestrian projects are eligible for the Highway Safety Improvement Program. This program focuses on projects intended for locations that have a documented history of previous crashes.
A list of regional coordinators for the program is available here.
Safe Routes to School Program
Safe Routes to School programs are federally funded, locally administered programs that encourage children ages K-8 to walk and bike to school. SRTS Programs create safer walking and biking routes, improve walking and biking travel options, promote healthier lifestyles in children at an early age and decrease auto-related emissions near schools.
Contact WisDOT’s SRTS Coordinator, Renee Callaway, 608-266-3973.
- Maintenance and restoration of existing trails
- Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages
- Construction of new trails, with certain restrictions on Federal lands
- Acquisition of easement or property for trails
- Rehabilitation of existing trails
- Trail maintenance
- Trail development
- Trail acquisition
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regional staff reviews all submitted project proposals. Each proposal is given a rank, and the highest ranking projects receive funding. More information is available on the DNR Web site.