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Bike-Ped Funding Options

Local/Municipal Funding Options

Funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements at the local level is vital to improving conditions within Maine communities. Most of the grant programs require a local match either with actual funding, or materials and labor. In addition, because grant funding is competitive and not nearly enough to make all of the improvements necessary, local funding is imperative to improving bicycle and pedestrian connections. The following is a sample of some of the local funding options that can be used in Maine.

Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) and Projects – Many municipalities budget a portion of their yearly CIP budge to sidewalk improvements. Many of the roads that are improved through the CIP also include shoulders and sidewalks that benefit pedestrians and bicyclists.

Local Bonding – Many communities have used bonding as a way to make significant improvements to the sidewalk networks. Most often, bicycle and pedestrian groups work with town leaders to bring a potential bond to the voters for approval.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – Maine TIF laws allow communities to capture incremental growth in property tax revenue, over a period of time, for reinvestment within the community. TIF revenues provide opportunities to fund local development projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian improvements within a district, and are great sources for local grant match.

State and Federal Funding Options

Projects as Part of Future Road Improvements – For MaineDOT road improvement project needs, municipalities have the opportunity to respond every other year (even numbered years) to the MaineDOT Municipal Request Packet. MaineDOT sends out the request for priorities to each municipality. This is an opportunity for a municipality to communicate to MaineDOT its priorities and needs for road improvements on state roads within its area. After a municipality prioritizes its needs and communicates them to MaineDOT, these needs must be prioritized by MaineDOT against other community needs throughout the state. MaineDOT then creates a two year budget that is financially constrained and includes projects for bridges, maintenance needs, road improvements, transit, safety, and bicycle and pedestrian stand alone projects.

Stand Alone Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects – If a bicycle and pedestrian connection need is identified and it is determined that the associated road is not scheduled for improvements, a community can work towards funding specifically for a bicycle and pedestrian connection. There are a variety of funding mechanisms that are used to create bicycle and pedestrian connections. The following is a summary of some of the state/federal funding opportunities that communities are using to improve connections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

MaineDOT Competative Programs – MaineDOT funds bicycle and pedestrian improvements in communities throughout the state through its federally funded competitive programs. The program uses a variety of funding sources to provide funding assistance to communities to improve the quality of the community environment. MaineDOT accepts applications on an ongoing basis. The program provides federal funding assistance of approximately $2.2 Million per year in bicycle and pedestrian projects that meet the transportation purpose of connecting neighborhoods, schools, downtowns and village areas. Municipalities that apply to the program must show that the project serves a transportation purpose, has community support, is buildable and environmentally feasible, and will improve safety.

Community Development Block Grant– The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) offers grants to Maine communities to achieve community and economic development objectives. The goals of the program are to benefit low income persons, eliminating the influences of blight, and addressing urgent needs. Communities often use this funding to improve the community environment – including sidewalks, streetscape improvements and trails. The Office of Community Development offers the CDBG funding program, which can be accessed for bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects, particularly those that serve as solutions to problems facing downtowns.

Maine Department of Conservation Recreational Trails Program – This program provides funding assistance for recreational trails in communities throughout the state. The program allows funding for both motorized and non-motorized trails and requires 20 percent in matching funds. Applications are due in May or June of each year and are due in November.

National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program – The RTCA Program works with nonprofit organizations, community groups, tribes or tribal governments, and local, state, or federal government agencies to conserve rivers, preserve open spaces, and develop trails and greenways. In Maine, the majority of the work has been helping communities develop trails ranging from hand-built, natural-surface walking trails to paved shared-use paths. Rivers and Trails have worked on many of Maine’s long distance trails that connect multiple communities for walking and biking. The application deadline is August 1 every year.