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.

A call for input: Which transportation projects should be recommended for funding?

As the metropolitan planning organization for the Kansas City region, MARC works with many partners to allocate funding for transportation improvements in the region. You have an important role to play in this process, too. Your tax dollars help pay for the federal and state programs that fund many of the projects, and which projects get funded may affect you and your community. We invite you to share your opinions about proposed projects.

We recently asked local governments and other organizations to submit projects for funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STP) and Surface Transportation Block Grant Set Aside funds (formerly known as the Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP). We received 100 applications totaling about $221 million, and there is only about $55 million available in this round of funding, so some hard choices will have to be made. (Check out this infographic that breaks down the project submissions.)

View project applications

You can browse application summaries by organization, city or county, project category, or requested funding source. There’s a comment form at the bottom of each project page. Please share your thoughts with us by Friday, May 4, 2018. Our transportation planning committees will review your feedback as they evaluate all applications over the summer and make final funding recommendations.

Special allocation approved to help fund replacement of Buck O’Neil (Broadway) Bridge

At the October Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC) meeting, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, requested a special allocation of $40 million in Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to help pay for a new bridge to replace the existing John J. “Buck” O’Neil (Broadway) Crossing of US-169 over the Missouri River between Clay and Jackson counties in Missouri.

TTPC convened a special joint meeting with the Missouri STP Priorities Committee on Nov. 13, 2017, to discuss the request. The group considered three alternatives:

  • Allocate all available FFY 2021-2022 STP funds, estimated at $35 million, to the project.
  • Allocate $40 million to the project over four years (FFY 2021 to 2024).
  • Consider the request with all other applications in the upcoming call for projects.

A majority of members present supported allocating $40 million for the project over the next two programming cycles, provided that the city of Kansas City, Missouri, does not apply for other STP funds during this period. Both TTPC and the MARC Board of Directors both reviewed and unanimously approved this recommendation at their November meetings.

The allocation of $20 million to the new bridge in 2018 will leave approximately $15 million for other projects during that round of funding (FFY 2021-2022). MARC staff will review the project in 2019 to ensure reasonable progress has been made in securing remaining funding and completing key project development activities prior to the 2020 call for projects (FFY 2023-2024).

Earlier this year, the Missouri Department of Transportation determined that major repairs are needed in the near term to address serious issues with the condition of the bridge structure. MoDOT initially proposed a $50+ million project to make these repairs, which would require complete closure of the bridge for up to two years and serve only to restore the bridge, with no upgrades to meet changing community needs.

Over the past year, MARC’s Beyond the Loop study of the bridge and its surroundings has revealed strong community support for replacing the bridge with a new structure that would strengthen connections to downtown and nearby communities. The study estimates a new bridge would cost approximately $200 million. MoDOT committed to pay half of the cost of a replacement bridge ($100 million) if the city of Kansas City could provide the other half. The $40 million STP allocation leaves a $60 million gap for the city to fund.

The city of Kansas City, Missouri, has submitted — and MoDOT has conditionally approved — a cost-share project to make immediate short-term repairs of the existing bridge and initiate environmental studies for a replacement. These repairs may require short-term full or partial closures of the bridge.

STP funds are suballocated to MARC, the region’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO), by the Federal Highway Administration in order to fund a variety of multimodal and roadway projects on federal highways. The Kansas STP Priorities and Missouri STP Priorities committees make recommendations to allocate these funds, with TTPC and MARC Board approval, through a programming process that occurs every two years.