Bicycle Coalition

The Spring Garden Connector received a MultiModal Fund grant in 2014 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. (credit: Delaware River Waterfront Corporation)

As a result of ACT 89 (the 2013 law that raised the gas tax in Pennsylvania), there are two statewide “multimodal funds” (MTF) that are available to municipalities, councils of government, businesses, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, and ports-rail/freight to apply for grants. These funds are supposed to support all types (multi-modal) of transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrian projects. Usually, each of these two funds requires a 30 percent cash match from the applicant, a significant bar to reach.

The two funds are operated by PennDOT and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). They operate independently and have different deadlines.

Since 2014, the PennDOT MTF has awarded $132 million in grants. The CFA MTF has awarded $205 million in grants. In each case, a 30 percent cash match is required from the sponsors.

However, this year’s CFA multimodal fund has opened the door to the possibility that applicants may not have to provide a 30 percent cash match. This is an excerpt from the February 2018 guidelines.

The fiscal code enacted in 2017 provides that a municipality receiving financial assistance through the CFA Multimodal Transportation Fund may not be required to provide a local match. The term “municipality” shall mean a county, city, borough, incorporated town or township. This provision shall expire December 31, 2018.

The CFA application period is now open and will close on July 31st.

A review by the Bicycle Coalition of both PennDOT and CFA’s multimodal funds found the following:

  1. Each of the two funds has allocated about 18-40 percent to bicycle pedestrian projects (depending on whether or not streetscape projects are counted as a bicycle-pedestrian project)
  2. Each fund has allocated between 1-2 percent to Circuit Trail projects (between $1.9-2.9M). Only three sponsors received MTF awards for Circuit projects: Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and Upper Dublin Township.
If you are interested in encouraging your local municipality or county to pursue a CFA multimodal grant for a bicycle/pedestrian or trail project, make sure they are aware of the CFA program and the possibility that they may not have to provide a full 30 percent cash match.
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