How do I tap into CMAQ funding for my bicycle/pedestrian project?

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funds are available to a wide range of government and non-profit organizations, as well as private entities contributing to public/private partnerships. They are controlled by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and state departments of transportation. Often, these organizations plan or implement their own air quality programs besides approving CMAQ funds for other projects. Funding is available for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (nonattainment areas) as well as former nonattainment areas that are now in compliance (maintenance areas). CMAQ-funded projects may include bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements, bicycle racks and lockers, and individualized marketing initiatives that promote bicycling and walking.

Organizations that want access to CMAQ funds must first ask their MPO to place the project on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). This process varies among MPOs and it is recommended that groups contact their MPO with their suggestions for CMAQ projects. Some MPOs have approved funding for transit promotion programs and message boards announcing ozone alerts and traffic congestion, but rejected funding for programs to promote bicycling and walking. This inequitable approach misses an important opportunity to shift mode share for the majority of short trips which could be done on foot or by bike.

Program details may be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/cmaqpgs/. An overview of federal policies and programs that affect bicycle/pedestrian projects is here: http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/develop/policies.cfm