Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

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Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP)

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program Cycle 14

IDOT will be accepting applications for ITEP beginning on August 21, 2020 with the deadline for application submittals on November 2, 2020.

Several changes have taken place since the last call for projects: 

  • Additional state funding is being set-aside for the ITEP program for projects in the categories of bike and pedestrian facilities as well as the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails.
  • Local agencies may be eligible for state funds to be used towards their match of federal funds.
  • An Interactive GIS map will be used to determine the My Community Map score. https://apps.dot.illinois.gov/ITEP/login.aspx

 Reminder:

  • PE I is eligible for funding however, no work can be invoiced for ITEP reimbursement that occurs prior to Federal Authorization of the funding. Consultant invoice dates of service must be for work performed after the federal authorization date.
  • The QBS (Quality Based Selection) process for consultant services is required for use of ITEP funding and must be completed prior to the Local Public Agency selecting a consultant to develop the ITEP Project.

20 ILCS 2705-615 of the state statute establishes state Road Funds be set-aside for use by the ITEP for bike/ped facilities and abandoned railroad corridors converted to trails, and also specifies that 25% of the funds be directed towards projects in high-need communities. The GIS map will use the location of the project to determine the “My Community Map” score for determining the high need communities. Once all applications have been received and scored, the “My Community Map” score will be used to determine the match requirement for each awarded project.  The application score will be derived from the merits of the project and its ability to provide an enhancement to the transportation system.   A minimum application score of 52 will be required in order to be eligible for funding.  The ITEP is a reimbursable grant program. Additional details may be found in the ITEP Guidelines.

Webinars

Active Transportation, with funding from the CDC, will host a series of 3 webinars to assist applicants in applying for ITEP grants. 

  • Webinar Part 2: ITEP Application Walk-Through and Project Scoring
    Wednesday, August 26, 2020 from 11:30am to 1pm – register here

  • Webinar Part 3: Final Guidance/Q&A on Project Proposals
    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 11:30am to 1pm – register here

 

Application Process

IDOT’s ITEP application period begins Aug. 21st and ends 4:30 CST on Nov. 2nd.

All project applications must be submitted through the online application process and should be complete and accurate.

All project applications must either complete a Community Score through the GIS mapping tool or pick from a list of existing Community Scores already created.

  • In addition to the online submission, IDOT must also receive one unbound hard copy of the application and attachments by 4:30 CST on November 2, 2020.
  • The hard copy must contain a six-digit ITEP number that is automatically generated once you click on the “Finalize and Submit” button.

Regardless of method of delivery, the hard copy must be received by IDOT by Close of Business (4:30 PM CST) on that date.  Applications that are postmarked before the deadline but are received after the deadline WILL BE MARKED INELIGIBLE AND WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING.

All project applications and related materials are to be mailed to the Illinois Department of Transportation at the following address:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program
Room 307
2300 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62764

Projects submitted in conjunction with a previously funded ITEP improvement:

Projects submitted that are being done in conjunction with a previously awarded ITEP project will need to provide specific information regarding the related project.  In other words, if you are applying for funds to continue with another construction phase, extend, or fund another phase of a previously funded ITEP project, information identifying the related project will need to be provided.  This information is explained in the on-line application documentation.  The sponsor will need to provide the following information:

  • ITEP number  
  • Project Title
  • Amount of federal funding provided previously
  • Any state job numbers tied to the previous ITEP project
  • Project status

Applying for multiple projects that are closely related within the current application cycle:

If the sponsor is applying for more than one project in the same application cycle and the projects are closely related, the sponsor will need to provide information in the application identifying all related projects.  A project is related if it has overlapping project limits or is built adjacent to each other.

Since the ITEP number is created only after the application is finalized and submitted, then only with subsequently submitted applications will the ITEP number be known to include in the related application.  Due to this limitation please provide at a minimum the project title, project description, and location of any related projects before finalizing and submitting.

  • ITEP number (if known, include for all related projects already submitted in current cycle)
  • Project Title
  • Project Description
  • Project Location

APPLICATION ATTACHMENTS:

  1. GATA Uniform Grant Application
  2. GATA Programmatic Risk Assessment
  3. GATA Uniform Grant Budget Template
  4. BoBS 2831: Uniform Grant Agreement Affidavit of Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest - Grantee (3/9/20)
  5. Detailed Cost Estimate
  6. Project Location Map
  7. Colored Photographs
  8. Local Assurance Page (PRO 2245)
  9. Government Resolution
  10. Public Involvement
  11. Letters of Support

Funding Amount / Matching Funds

Federal Funding

On December 4, 2015, the federal transportation bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act” was signed into law.  The FAST Act replaced the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) with a set-aside of Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program funding for transportation alternatives authorized under Section 1109 of the FAST Act (23 U.S.C. 133(h)).

State Funding

20 ILCS 2705-615 establishes supplemental state funding, set aside from the Road Fund, for projects in the categories of pedestrian and bicycle facilities and the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails. At least 25% of projects funded will be directed toward projects in high-need communities and the local matching funds required shall be determined based on a sliding scale based on the Community Map score. See ITEP Guidelines for further details.

Applicants may apply for up to $2,000,000 maximum per project in ITEP funds. Total funds available for this cycle is $105.6 million.

ITEP is a reimbursable grant program, which requires an interagency/joint funding agreement that details the project scope of work and cost participation. The project sponsor must pay preliminary engineering costs up-front and will be reimbursed as the sponsor submits the paperwork documenting implementation.  Depending upon whether the project is local-let or state-let, the same conditions may apply for the construction phase.

Pursuant to federal requirements as established by MAP-21 and subsequently by the FAST Act, a proposed project must meet the following criteria:

  • The project must fit within one of the eligible categories and must comply with any additional IDOT policies as outlined in the guidelines.
  • The project must relate to surface transportation.
  • The project must have an eligible project sponsor.
  • The project must be selected through a competitive process.

Federal funds will provide reimbursement up to 50 percent for right-of-way and easement acquisition costs, and up to 80 percent for preliminary engineering, utility relocations, construction engineering and construction costs.  The required match is the responsibility of the project sponsor unless they qualify for state matching funds based on the Community Map score.  There are a variety of other funding sources available to communities (see Matching Funds under Section D).  Other federal transportation funds cannot be used as local match.  Sponsors should seek alternative funding sources or be able to make up funding shortfalls with local funds.

The additional state funding provided through the set-aside of the Road Fund will be used for projects in the categories of pedestrian and bicycle facilities and the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to trails. The state funds will provide matching funds to the federal funds on a sliding scale for those communities determined to be high need, as well as allow IDOT to award funds to additional ITEP projects. Local match will be determined once all applications have been scored and the Community Map scores are evaluated.  The local match for those projects in the most high-need communities will have no local match required; those projects in the next group of high-need scores will have 10% local match required.  Projects that have high project scores but low scores for the high-need elements will have a 20% local match.

Work that begins prior to federal authorization will not be eligible for reimbursement.  Furthermore, an ITEP award recipient will be required to pay back funds if reasonable progress has not been made.  Please see FHWA Order 5020.1A, June 8, 2018, Repayment of Preliminary Engineering Costs for further guidance.  All ITEP funded projects must have all phases of work fully obligated within four years of the award notification letter or funds will be rescinded.

Matching Funds

Eligible matching funding sources include:

  • Illinois Bicycle Path Grant Program (IDNR)
  • Other IDNR Grant Programs (based on IDNR eligibility)
  • Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Tourism Funding Options
  • Community Development Block Grants (42 U.S.C. 5305)
  • State and Local Motor Fuel Tax Funds (MFT)
  • Local General Revenue Tax Funds
  • Federal funds that are not included in the ISTEA, TEA-21, SAFETEA-LU, MAP-21 or FAST Act federal highway bills
  • Non-Profit Organization Funds donated to the ITEP sponsor
  • Private or Corporate Funds donated to the ITEP sponsor
  • Soft Match (See Local Agency Federal Flexible Match (FFM) Program - Appendix 6)
  • State Road Fund set aside for ITEP

Ineligible matching funding sources include:

  • National Recreational Trails Program
  • Public Lands Highways Discretionary Fund Program (Forest Highway Program)
  • National Scenic Byway Program
  • ISTEA federal highway funds
  • TEA-21 federal highway funds
  • SAFETEA-LU federal highway funds
  • MAP-21/TAP federal highway funds
  • FAST Act federal highway funds
  • Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program funds

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants or project sponsors are local entities with taxing authority that can guarantee matching funds to carry out the proposed project.  Sponsors assume responsibility and accountability for the use and expenditure of program funds.  Applicants and/or implementing agencies must be able to comply with all the federal and state laws, regulations, policies and procedures required to enter into project agreements.

Under 23 U.S.C. 213(c)(4)(B), the eligible entities to receive ITEP funds are:

  • local governments;
  • regional transportation authorities;
  • transit agencies;
  • natural resource or public land agencies;
  • school districts, local education agencies, or schools;
  • tribal governments;
  • nonprofit entities responsible for administration of local transportation safety programs; and
  • any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for oversight of transportation or recreational trails (other than a metropolitan planning organization or a State agency) that the State determines to be eligible.

Although State agencies and MPOs with responsibility for oversight of transportation or recreational trails cannot sponsor a project, they can partner with an eligible project sponsor.

The project sponsor is responsible for the following:

  • Secure required sponsor match through cash, right-of-way donations, FFM, or other means
  • Complete environmental documents, clearances, permits and mitigation
  • Ensure necessary environmental studies and sign-off by appropriate federal, state and local agencies
  • Acquire local assurance from the proper authorities to ensure commitment
  • Complete GATA pre-award requirements
  • Submit all GATA documents required in the application
  • Complete all GATA periodic reporting requirements and consolidated year-end financial review CYFER
  • Coordinate project with Local IDOT District Office; conduct kick-off meeting
  • Provide a project milestone schedule
  • Schedule start dates for all types of work according to the award notification and Sunset Clause (see Section J)
  • Acquire sponsor and agency joint agreements
  • Complete preliminary engineering
  • Prepare contract plans
  • Perform utility relocations (as required)
  • Manage, administer and implement the project
  • Acquire necessary right-of-way and easements
  • Maintain the project after completion
  • Provide project status or timeline upon request
  • Responsible for the cost of all ineligible items

Project Categories

  1. Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities
  2. Streetscapes
  3. Conversion of Abandoned Railroad Corridors to Trails
  4. Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation of Historic Transportation Facilities
  5. Vegetation Management in Transportation Rights-of-Way
  6. Archaeological Activities Relating to Impacts from Implementation of a Transportation Project
  7. Storm Water Management, Control and Water Pollution Prevention or Abatement Related to Highway Construction or Due to Highway Runoff
  8. Reduce Vehicle-Caused Wildlife Mortality or Restore and Maintain Connectivity Among Terrestrial or Aquatic Habitats
  9. Construction of Turnouts, Overlooks, and Viewing Areas

Ineligible Items:

  • Scenic or historic highway programs (including the provision of tourist and welcome center facilities)
  • Provision of safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites
  • Establishment of transportation museums
  • State or MPO administrative purposes
  • Promotional activities
  • Routine maintenance and operation
  • General recreation and park facilities, playground equipment, sports fields, campgrounds, picnic areas and pavilions
  • Road work (i.e. resurfacing)
  • Bike sharing programs – capital and operational costs
  • Bike/bus/picnic shelters
  • Equestrian and snowmobile trails
  • Landscape work (as a stand-alone project)
  • Parking lots (that support traditional modes of transportation such as cars, trucks, and busses)
  • Parking spaces/striping
  • Storm sewers
  • Trash receptacles
  • Courthouses
  • Building Purchase
  • Alleyway improvements
  • Trail resurfacing (maintenance)
  • Bicycle lockers/racks (as a stand-alone project)
  • Pedestrian crossings (as a stand-alone project)
  • Street lighting (with no co-located alternate transportation facility or as a stand-alone project; unless in a designated historic district)
  • Pedestrian lighting (as a stand-alone project)
  • Fences (unless addressing a significant safety issue)
  • Recreational trails
  • Benches (unless permanent in nature, limited)

Project Selection

Project Evaluation
All ITEP projects must be selected through a competitive process.  In order to comply with federal guidelines, IDOT has developed a numerical-based scoring process.  After IDOT receives the candidate project applications, an initial review will be done of all applications received for eligibility and GATA compliance.  All eligible project applications are organized and assigned to reviewers statewide for a more comprehensive review based on established review criteria listed below.  These reviewers consist of MPOs, IDOT districts, other state agencies and internal IDOT staff, each project has a minimum of three reviewers. A Selection Committee will review the candidate projects in rating order from highest to lowest and discusses the cut off for approval based on the funding available.   

Review Criteria

  1. Eligibility
  2. Strength of transportation relationship
  3. Project meets category intent
  4. Public benefits and accessibility
  5. Project support / local commitment
  6. Connectivity to existing facilities / Linkage
  7. Prior sponsor investment
  8. Project sponsor capacity, readiness and past performance
  9. Project readiness
  10. Status of Phase I Engineering, extra points will be given for completion
  11. Status of Land Acquisition, extra points will be given for the completion
  12. Application completeness/Information provided
  13. Inclusion in a local, state or regional plan
  14. Cost effectiveness
  15. Planning and coordination

Project Selection and Approval
A notification letter will be sent to those receiving ITEP grants after the ITEP awards are announced.  These letters will include further instructions regarding how to contact your local IDOT District Enhancement Coordinator to proceed with your project.  It is imperative that you contact your respective IDOT District Enhancement Coordinator immediately upon award notification.

If your project receives an ITEP award:

  • You will receive a notification letter with the award amount. The notification letter will also contain deadlines for your specific project based on phases of work approved for funding.  Note that if any deadline is not met, funds may be rescinded.
  • Immediately contact your IDOT District Enhancement Coordinator; contact information can be found at the bottom of the notification letter. A kick-off meeting must be scheduled within 6 weeks of award notification.
  • All ITEP funded projects must have all phases of work fully obligated within four years of the award notification letter or funds will be rescinded.
  • Obtain guidance from your IDOT District Enhancement Coordinator on how to proceed with the project development process by getting the proper paperwork in place.

How to Apply

Resources

  1. NOFO
  2. Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Set-aside Implementation Guidance (2016)
  3. Updated: Repayment of Preliminary Engineering Costs - FHWA Order 5020.1A
  4. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, 1995
  5. FHWA FAST ACT - Surface Transportation Block Grant Program
  6. FHWA FAST ACT - Transportation Alternatives
  7. Federal-aid Essentials for Local Public Agencies
  8. Circular Letter 2020-13 - ITEP Cycle 14

Program Guidelines

IDOT policy for the ITEP may be more restrictive than the federal rules for the TAP. For more information on project eligibility, refer to the ITEP Program Guidelines.

ITEP Program Guidelines (if file does not open, right click on link, choose Open in New Tab)

Frequently Asked Questions

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

Application Related

  1. What types of projects are funded by the Enhancement Program?
    Using the federal guidelines as defined under the FAST Act, IDOT is accepting project applications for ITEP funding in the following categories:
    • Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities
    • Landscape/Streetscape and Other Scenic Beautification
    • Conversion of Abandoned Railroad Corridors to Trails
    • Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation of Historic Transportation Facilities
    • Vegetation Management in Transportation Rights-of-Way
    • Archaeological Activities Relating to Impacts from Implementation of a Transportation Project
    • Storm Water Management, Control and Water Pollution Prevention or Abatement Related to Highway Construction or Due to Highway Runoff
    • Reduce Vehicle-Caused Wildlife Mortality or Restore and Maintain Connectivity Among Terrestrial or Aquatic Habitats
    • Construction of Turnouts, Overlooks and Viewing Areas
  2. Am I required to hold public meetings for project approval?
    Public coordination may be necessary depending upon the type and scope of the proposed project but is not required as a condition for project selection. Public outreach is strongly encouraged by both FHWA and IDOT and should be continued throughout the project. Public involvement will be considered in the selection process as a good reflection of public outreach/support and as a measure of project planning and project readiness.
  3. Do I need to provide a lot of detailed information?
    It is useful to provide as much detail as possible.  A detailed cost estimate is required with all project submittals. This will help ensure that eligible and ineligible items can be defined which will allow the department and the project sponsor to have a clear understanding of the fiscal responsibilities.  Ensure you include details of any criteria that will be evaluated for project selection. i.e. Railroad agreements completed and included in application, ROW acquisition complete, other project readiness detail)
  4. How can I determine what project elements are eligible and which are ineligible?
    Because there is such a vast difference in the types of projects funded under the enhancement program, it is difficult to make one policy that fits all circumstances. Many times, eligibility must be determined on a case by case basis. The ITEP guidelineslists eligible and ineligible elements for each specific category.  At any point, even after the Local Agency receives an ITEP award notification, a project element may be found ineligible if it does not meet federal or state ITEP guidelines.  Ineligible items can still be part of your project cost estimate but should be separated out. For additional clarification consult the local IDOT enhancement coordinator in your area or submit your question to DOT.ITEP@illinois.gov. Please note - any ineligible items will have to be funded by other means.
  5. What is meant by “project scope”?
    Project scope is a concise description of the elements and scale of a project that need to be done to accomplish its intended purpose. Some detail is needed to clarify what the project sponsor wants to do so the department can determine what elements are eligible for funding. This is also critical if the proposed project is being done in conjunction with another project.

Project Funding

  1. How much funding can I get for my project?
    Individual projects vary in size and costs depending upon the funding category. However, there is a $2 million per-project funding cap. In other words, the department will not award more than $2 million to any single project. The federal portion of eligible costs is 80% except for land acquisition and street lighting, which is funded at 50 percent for projects selected under the program.
  2. Our community has already received funding for an ITEP project in the past. Does this affect our chances of receiving future ITEP funds?
    Project selection is based on eligibility and merit. However, past performance of a project sponsor will be considered.
  3. What happens if I don’t get all the money I requested from ITEP?
    If funding from ITEP is less than the amount requested in the application, the project sponsor has a variety of options:
  1. The sponsor can seek funds from other public or private sources;
  2. The project can be reduced to fit within the funding provided;
  3. The sponsor can stage the project into logical phases and seek additional ITEP funding during a subsequent statewide solicitation.

Project Selection and Implementation

  1. If my project is selected, what happens next?
    The department will initially contact the project sponsor by mail informing them of the project selection and approved funding amount. The IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator in your area is responsible for project implementation and should be the point of contact once you’ve received your letter. The selected project may or may not have received all the funds requested and a scoping meeting (see next question) may be needed to determine which project elements the department has provided funding for or to discuss how to proceed with re-scoping the project to fit within the approved budget.
  2. What is a scoping meeting?
    The scoping meeting is where the project sponsor reviews the project funding with the department to determine what elements of the project are being funded and how that funding will be provided. FHWA and the department’s policies and procedures along with the sponsor’s responsibilities will be discussed in more detail. Scoping meetings will be held by the IDOT District Local Roads offices (if required) after project selection and notifications are made. Project sponsors are encouraged to contact their respective IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator as soon as approval notification is received.
  3. What happens if I have a cost overrun on my project?
    ITEP is limited in its ability to make up shortfalls for project cost overruns. Following similar steps as outlined in #4 under Project Funding, the sponsor should seek alternatives to manage the project within available funding levels. Funds can be shifted from one phase to another, such as from PE to construction to cover shortfalls. An ITEP Change Request form (Form # OPP 2255) has been developed to simplify the process. Please contact the IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator in your area.
  4. If I have already completed Preliminary Engineering, will I be required to do more work before proceeding to construction?
    All engineering work must be done in accordance with federal guidelines. You may need to adjust accordingly. It is required that the Final Project Development Report is submitted to IDOT for review and approval and the submittal date is included and can be verified in the application. Contact your respective IDOT District Local Roads Enhancement Coordinator with any related inquiries.
  5. What is the Federal Flexible Match Program (FFM)?
    This program allows flexibility to the Federal-Aid Highway Program’s matching requirements by allowing certain public donations of cash, materials, and services to satisfy the local matching requirements. Basically, the project sponsor can get ‘credits’ toward construction and construction engineering to use as part of the local match. This does not increase your funding level.
  6. What if I am unable to meet the time frame for project implementation as defined under the Sunset Clause?
    This policy has been instituted to help reduce the amount of unobligated ITEP funds which are subject to federal rescissions or to lapse (expire). If the required time frames cannot be met, your project funds may be rescinded. IDOT will continue to monitor projects, and project sponsors may be required to submit documentation on the status of their project on a periodic basis.

Contacts

Please send all general ITEP inquiries to DOT.ITEP@illinois.gov

DistrictDistrict Local Roads and
Streets Engineers
(local-sponsored projects)
1Charles Riddle
(847) 705-4406
2Tony Baratta
(815) 284-5380
3Masood Ahmad (Acting)
(815) 434-8426
4Tony Sassine
(309) 671-3690
5Brian Trygg
(217) 466-7252
6Brian Wright
(217) 782-4690
7Sherry Phillips
(217) 342-8321
8John Schaller
(618) 346-3330
9Travis Emery
(618) 351-5260

IDOT Regional Map