Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Here are some of the more common questions, and their answers, we receive about the Kansas Transportation Alternatives Program:

Q. Can eligible sponsors submit multiple applications?

A. Yes, you can submit more than one application. However, if a Project Sponsor submits multiple applications for this round of TA funding, they must rank all their projects in order of importance (1 of x, 2 of x, etc.), where 1 is the project of greatest importance. If only one project is submitted, please list it as 1 of 1.

Q. Are each of the project categories expected to make up an equal proportion of the projects awarded?

A. No. There are no set number of projects or dollar amount per category that are predetermined to be selected for awards. Each individual project, no matter which category it belongs to, will go through the same competitive project scoring and selection process.   

Q. Are the scores for each category compared to scores to other applications from other categories?  For example, is an application that scores a 77 in Scenic and Environmental considered better than a 72 in Bike/Ped?

A. All project applications, no matter what the category is, are equally evaluated by the Project Scoring Committee during Phases 1 and 2 of the Application Review & Selection Process. Once the project reaches Phase 3 and is reviewed by the Project Selection Board other factors begin to play a role, such as geographic locations of the projects may then be taken into consideration by the PSB.

Q. Is there enough time for a Local Planning Authority to become certified to administer State and Federal projects?

A. In most cases, there will not be an opportunity for LPAs to become certified for this round of TA projects. However, KDOT –  Bureau of Local Projects reserves the right to discuss the possibility of “LPA Administered” with the sponsoring LPA if this option is determined to be best for the project.

Q. How early can Project Sponsors solicit and hire a project consultant?

A. For general TA projects, it is recommended that you do this as soon as possible. Since PE is a non-participating expense, you should begin the process to hire a consultant to design and develop project plans once you receive your award letter.

For SRTS Phase 1 (non-infrastructure) projects, you must wait to solicit and select a project consultant until your Agreement has been fully executed and you have received a Notice to Proceed.

Q. Why might my project scope be reduced?

A. The Project Scoring Committee (PSC) and the Project Selection Board (PSB) may choose to reduce the scope of your project for multiple reasons. Common examples would be the exclusion of ineligible items or available funding constraints. Having the project scope reduced or broken into phases will assist the committees in selecting the appropriate funding amount if funding constraints are encountered.

Q. What expenses qualify for reimbursement?

A. For general TA projects, construction and construction engineering costs are eligible expenses. For SRTS Phase 1 projects, please review the list of Eligible Noninfrastructure Activities on FHWA’s SRTS Program Guidance webpage.  

Q. What expenses do not qualify for reimbursement?

A. Project design, right-of-way acquisition, and utility relocation are some examples of expenses which are not eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, advertising costs incurred during the bidding process, general recreation and park facilities, playground equipment, campgrounds, picnic amenities and shelters are also not eligible for reimbursement.

Q. What documentation is required if the proposed project is located on state highway right-of-way?

A. The KDOT local district office can help supply verification of state right-of-way. If the project is located within KDOT right-of-way, KDOT – Bureau of Local Projects will coordinate with other KDOT Bureaus as required during the project development stage of the project.

Q. What should be included on the detailed map?

A. At a minimum, your detailed map should include the project area, the proposed path, any relevant landmarks, a north arrow, a legend, and a scale.

Q. What steps should be taken if the project crosses Railroad Tracks?

A. KDOT will coordinate any railroad agreements required for the project for all “KDOT-Let” projects. If your project is “LPA-Administered”, it will be your responsibility to coordinate any railroad agreements and/or purchase any railroad right-of-way needed for the project. This will be discussed in detail at the project Field Check meeting with KDOT – Bureau of Local Projects.

Q. For what year are these funds available?

A. Funds for this Call for Projects will be available as 2017 and 2018 TA funds and must be used by no later than 2 years and six months (total of 30 months) after the date the Notice to Proceed letter is made, or risk forfeiture of any remaining funds in the project.

Q. What is the required match?

A. Funding is based on a reimbursement program at the rate of 80/20. Project Sponsors must submit documentation of full payment for all expenses. They will then be reimbursed for 80% of those expenses that are eligible. Local matches must be a cash match (sometimes called a hard match). Project Sponsors are still allowed to accept in-kind contributions, but they no longer allow in-kind as part of the 20% match.

Q. Will increasing our match increase our score?

A. No. Projects are ranked competitively. 

Q. My project is inside a Metropolitan Planning Organization’s boundary; do I need to clear the project with them before applying?

A. Yes. Projects in an MPO’s boundary must submit a letter of concurrence from the MPO stating that the project is in alignment with the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

Q. Can regions that receive sub-allocated funds also apply for the statewide application?

A. No. WAMPO and MARC both receive their own portion of TA funds, which they program independently of this call for projects. Project Sponsors in those two regions are not eligible for the statewide call for projects.

Q. Will KDOT cap the project agreement?

A. Yes. All project agreements will be capped. This means that there will be a limit placed on the amount of funds that can be reimbursed for each project. Project Sponsors are responsible for any ineligible expenses and cost overages past the awarded amount.

Q. Will KDOT be responsible for the required inspections for infrastructure projects?

A. No. Project Sponsors are responsible for having all required inspections done and passed.

Q. May a State or MPO sub-allocate or set-aside funds for small businesses, youth corps, or categories of applicants?

A. No. FAST Act does not authorize a State or MPO to sub-allocate or set-aside funds for small businesses, youth corps, or categories of applicants prior to project selection. The State (or MPO, as applicable) must select projects submitted by eligible entities and chosen through a competitive process. The competitive process may include criteria giving priority to projects that meet desired goals.

Q. What are non-participating costs?

A. Non-participating costs are costs that will not or cannot be reimbursed with Federal funds. These costs are still part of the total cost of the project and must be accounted for in the project budget and project authorization. Non-participating costs could occur because of ineligibility or because the grant recipient determined that the specified items will not be reimbursed with Federal funding.

Q. Can HUD Community Development Block Grant funds be used as a match for the Transportation Alternatives Program?

A. Yes. CDBG funds are allowed to be used as a match to the TA Program.

In general, you cannot match Federal funds with other Federal funds unless there is specific legislation allowing the match. The primary exceptions that would affect the Federal-aid highway program (and, vicariously, the TA Program) are:

  • HUD CDBG: May match or be matched by other federal funds
  • DOT/FHWA Recreational Trails Program funds
  • DOT/FHWA Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Fund for other federal-aid highway projects that provide access to or within Federal lands
  • Federal Land Management Agency funds for other federal-aid highway projects that provide access to or within federal lands
  • Youth Corps (AmeriCorps)

Q. Is there a separate application for Safe Routes to School projects?

A. No, there is no separate application for SRTS projects. The SRTS program is still an eligible program, but it has been incorporated into the TA Program. SRTS applications are competitively reviewed along with all other TA applications for available funds.

Q. Can TA funds be used to replace faded or worn out signs or markers?

A. No. Signage is the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) responsibility of the local municipality.

Q. Why are projects in the Wichita and Kansas City metropolitan areas not eligible for the statewide call for projects?

A. The Wichita and Kansas City metros are what are referred to as TMAs, or Traffic Management Areas. As such, the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMPO) and the Mid-American Regional Council (MARC) are given a sub-allocation of TA funds to program on projects of regional significance. WAMPO and MARC are expected to run a competitive process in consultation with KDOT for these sub-allocated funds. (23 U.S.C. 213(c)(5))

Q. Is there a cap on the amount of funds available to a Safe Routes to School project?

A. Yes. We will continue to cap SRTS projects as follows:

  • Phase 1 = $15,000 ($12,000 request + $3,000 local match)
  • Phase 2 = $500,000 ($400,000 request + $100,000 local match)

Q. How does the 20% match work?

A. There are three ways that the 20% match will come into play:

  1. For SRTS Phase 1 projects:

The Project Sponsor will be reimbursed for 80% of eligible expenses after submitting receipts for 100% of eligible expense receipts. [For example, if the Project Sponsor submits receipts for $5,000 of eligible expenses, KDOT will reimburse the Project Sponsor 80% of those expenses, or $4,000. The Project Sponsor is responsible for covering the other $1,000 of eligible expenses for the project.]

  1. For projects let by Project Sponsor:

The Project Sponsor will follow all applicable procedures from Section 15 (LPA-Administered Procedures) of the Local Projects "LPA Project Development Manual".  After bidding the project, the Project Sponsor will submit all bid documents to KDOT for review. Approval to award the bid must be obtained from KDOT before awarding the contract. The Project Sponsor will make payments to the Contractor and request reimbursement from KDOT. The Project Sponsors' share will be deducted from the total amount paid to the Contractor. 

  1. For all other KDOT-let projects:

Project Sponsors will follow the typical Local Projects process, where upon bidding the project, KDOT will ask for the Project Sponsors’ approval to award the bid to the low bidder and at that same time will ask for the Project Sponsors to submit their cost share of eligible costs.  KDOT will then administer the contract and pay the contractor directly. (In essence, the Project Sponsors never has to foot the payments to the contractor up front and then request KDOT reimbursement.)

Q. Does Buy America apply to TA projects?

A. Yes. Since TA Program projects are treated as federal aid projects, the Buy America Act applies.  Please contact Ed Thornton in KDOT’s Bureau of Local Projects for more information at the following link: http://kart.ksdot.org/Download/DownloadDetail.aspx?FileID=370  

    Ed Thornton, Road Team Leader

    Bureau of Local Projects

    Ed.Thornton@ks.gov 

    Phone: (785) 296-0415