Call for projects open for three federal funding programs

In our role as Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Greater Kansas City, MARC is soliciting project proposals for three Federal Highway Administration funding programs. 

  • Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) 
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG) 
  • STBG Set-aside (formerly Transportation Alternatives or TAP) 

While we are very aware of the current uncertainties and impacts to regional transportation partners resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, we believe beginning to add projects to the federal funding pipeline will be important for the region’s eventual economic recovery. Since many of these projects will require lengthy lead-times to design and develop through the federal-aid process, we are proceeding with this call for projects to provide time to complete that work. After extensive discussions with our transportation committees, we have also made modifications to the programming process that should allow more time to assemble the information needed to complete these applications. 

Alignment with regional transportation goals 

In 2018, the MARC Board of Directors adopted an updated vision for Greater Kansas City as a region of opportunity where the robust economy, healthy environment and social capacity support the creativity, diversity and resilience of its people, places and communities. 

Connected KC 2050, the region’s long‐range transportation plan is being updated in 2020. The plan supports the regional vision by establishing goals for a safe, balanced, regional multimodal transportation system that is coordinated with land‐use planning, supports equitable access to opportunities and protects the environment. Projects submitted for consideration will be evaluated based on how closely they align with the policy goals of the plan. 

Connected KC 2050 also includes a Programming Policy Statement that further supports the vision of the MARC Board of Directors and is designed to aid the region as it makes progress in implementing the goals identified in the transportation plan and other regional policies. Project proposals will be evaluated for adherence with these policies. 

Eligible applicants and uses 

State and local government and transportation agencies located within MARC’s MPO boundary — Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri — may submit transportation projects for consideration for STBG and TAP funds. CMAQ funds are only eligible for use in the region’s air quality planning boundary — Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. Interested nonprofit entities, school districts and other nongovernmental agencies should contact MARC regarding their eligibility under these programs. 

Each of the three programs is eligible to fund a wide but specific range of surface transportation projects. Eligible transportation project types for this call for projects include, but are not limited to: 

  • Active transportation, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 
  • Alternative fuel and diesel retrofit strategies to improve regional air quality. 
  • Public transportation. 
  • Outreach strategies to improve regional air quality. 
  • Roadway and bridge capacity, management, operations, preservation and traffic flow. 
  • Transportation safety. 

Application procedures 

This funding opportunity will consist of two phases, a preapplication and initial screening followed by a full application and technical evaluation.  

Preapplications are being accepted now through 4 p.m. CST on Friday, May 29, 2020. Full applications will open Aug. 3, 2020, and close at 4 p.m. CST on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Completion of both phases is required for funding consideration. 

The application instructions, resources, maps and online form are available on the Connected KC 2050 funding page

More than $57 million allocated to transportation projects

In its role as the designated metropolitan planning organization for the Kansas City region, MARC has solicited applications and awarded funds for several transportation funding programs this year.

CMAQ, STP and TAP grant programs

  • Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) — funds for transportation projects that improve air quality.
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant (STP) — funds for roadway projects on the federal-aid highway system, capital improvements for public transportation and other multimodal projects.
  • Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) — funds for smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity.

Funding for these three programs is estimated to total $55 million in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. MARC received 100 applications for projects seeking a combined $223.6 million. After initial evaluation and scoring of applications, transportation planning committees reviewed proposals and made recommendations to fund 51 percent of CMAQ requests, 25 percent of STP requests and 38 percent of the TAP requests.

Section 5310 grant program

In June, MARC issued a separate call for projects for the Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 grant program in partnership with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. This grant program funds projects that advance mobility services for older adults and individuals with disabilities. More than $2.4 million was allocated to projects that will purchase handicap-accessible vehicles, continue three local taxi voucher programs, support an online information resource and create a travel training program.

The federal funding projects and Section 5310 funding projects were approved by the Board of Directors and Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC) at their October meetings. The projects were recently added to the TIP. See the list of projects.

Burlington Avenue corridor in North Kansas City to get bike facilities, rain gardens

The Kansas City region’s vision of vibrant, green and connected centers and corridors is central to both the Creating Sustainable Places initiative and Transportation Outlook 2040, the region’s long-range transportation plan.

Planning Sustainable Places (PSP) is an initiative to provide communities with pre-development resources to advance sustainable projects in their corridors and centers. The first round of projects was funded in 2013, the second in 2015 and a third round was just awarded for 2017.

The Burlington Corridor Complete Street Design project received funding in 2015 and set out to produce plans to increase green elements and improve transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities along the corridor in North Kansas City, Missouri. Sara Copeland, community development director for the city of North Kansas City, recently provided this project update:

Burlington Avenue is the front door to North Kansas City (NKC). More than 25,000 cars use Burlington every day, whether they are traveling to a destination here in NKC, heading south to reach downtown Kansas City, Missouri, or heading somewhere further north. Burlington is also a state highway (Route 9) and a major transit corridor.

BEFORE:

NKC PSP project 01-BEFORE
Photo courtesy Confluence

AFTER:

NKC PSP project 02-AFTER
Photo courtesy Confluence

Unfortunately, we have heard for too long that as a front door, Burlington lacks curb appeal. The medians and their trees are aging. Burlington lacks continuous sidewalks, and it is not pedestrian or bicycle friendly.

The city of North Kansas City was planning to explore median improvements to Burlington when MARC announced the call for projects for the 2015 Planning Sustainable Places program. Receiving PSP funds gave us an opportunity to take a broader approach to Burlington, to examine not just median improvements, but how investing in complete street improvements on Burlington could revitalize and refresh the corridor.

After months of community outreach and engagement, the plan for Burlington includes a new cycle track — a two-way bicycle path on the east side of Burlington that will connect to the bike path on the Heart of America bridge. Setting a standard traffic lane width allows additional space for sidewalks and amenities. The aging medians will be replaced with rain gardens to better handle stormwater.

Making these improvements will be a multi-year project. The first phase of improvements has been galvanized by the award of federal Surface Transportation Program funds — $3.8 million to support construction of the cycle track in 2020. We anticipate moving forward on surveying, engineering and construction documents in the spring of 2017.

Because we knew that some community members would have a hard time envisioning future improvements, a key part of this project was the creation of visual materials illustrating proposed improvements. These illustrations, especially a video demonstrating the difference between today’s Burlington and tomorrow’s improved corridor, have been instrumental in building support for this project. All of these materials are available on the North Kansas City Burlington Corridor Project website.

Public input needed on long-term and short-term transportation plans

Public comment_ppt_March2016wordpress

Periodically, MARC seeks public comments on transportation planning efforts and major amendments to transportation plans. All comments will be documented and reviewed by MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee.

We are currently seeking public feedback on two transportation-related programs.

Comments are due by Thursday, August 4, 2016.

Special Amendment to the 2016–2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

The TIP is an important, short-term planning document that helps budget funds for significant transportation improvements in the region. It identifies significant projects that receive federal funds to be implemented over the next three to five years.

The proposed special amendment to the 2016-20 TIP includes one project:

  • Salem Street improvements in Oak Grove: This project will rehabilitate one of the most heavily traveled commercial thoroughfares in Oak Grove. Improvements will include milling, asphalt overlay, marking and pavement/curb replacement.

Amendment to the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

The UPWP describes the transportation planning activities MARC and other agencies propose to undertake during the next fiscal year. The UPWP promotes a unified regional approach to transportation planning in order to achieve regional goals and objectives.

The proposed amendment to the UPWP includes:

  • Adding four projects:
    • Green Infrastructure Engagement: Engage interested stakeholders and community members in discussions focused on the nexus between green infrastructure and the transportation system, defining a scope for the overall approach and identifying goals, key implementation steps and organizational strategies to be considered in a Regional Green Infrastructure Plan.
    • Draft Integrated Ecosystem Framework (IEF): Based upon initial stakeholder input and existing plans and data, conduct a stakeholder charrette and generate a draft regional conservation and restoration priorities map.
    • Transportation Technology Forum: Conduct a forum that focuses on the future of transportation and how emerging technologies are rapidly changing the way we move people and goods, which has profound impacts for our cities, our infrastructure and our regional economy.
    • Transit Oriented Development Study: In partnership with the KCATA, procure consultant services to conduct an economic benefit study of bus rapid transit routes.
    • Removing two projects:
      • Surveys and Modeling Symposium.
      • Transportation Planning Data Self-Assessment.

Submit your comments:

  • By mail: Mid-America Regional Council, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105
  • By phone: 816/474-4240
  • By fax: 816/421-7758
  • By email: transportation@marc.org

Additional information about the MARC transportation planning process can be found in A Guide to Transportation Decision Making and MARC’s Public Participation Plan.

Call for public input: replacement of Grand Avenue bridge over I-670

Public comment_ppt_March2016wordpress

Periodically, MARC seeks public comments on transportation planning efforts and major amendments to transportation plans. We would like your feedback on a special amendment to the 2016-2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which includes one project:

Replacement of the Grand Avenue bridge over I-670 in Jackson County due to structural issues that have closed the bridge. The project is expected to cost approximately $5.2 million which will be paid with federal and state funds.

View the details of this project

The TIP is an important, short-term planning document that helps budget funds for significant transportation improvements in the region. It identifies projects that receive federal funds and will be implemented during the next three to five years. All comments will be documented and reviewed by MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee.

Comments are due by Monday, June 6, 2016.

Submit your comments:

  • By mail: Mid-America Regional Council, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105
  • By phone: 816-474-4240
  • By fax: 816-421-7758
  • By email: tip@marc.org

Additional information about the MARC transportation planning process can be found in A Guide to Transportation Decision Making and in MARC’s Public Participation Plan.