Rural Transport Toolbox

In 1998 the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Transportation signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the agencies jointly agreed to address long-term agricultural transportation, rural passenger and freight mobility challenges.  As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding, the agencies have pursued a variety of projects of mutual interest, including the development of this website.  The Transportation Toolbox for Rural Areas and Small Communities was designed to assist public and private stakeholders in planning, developing, and improving rural areas and small communities, especially through transportation and related projects.  It is a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

As the twenty-first century begins, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are committed to meeting the challenges of improving safety, enhancing the environment, stimulating economic growth, and improving transportation for rural areas and small communities.

Both USDA and USDOT offer an array of programs that, when used together, can help ensure that rural communities share in the planning and decision making processes by which transportation  investments are made. The USDA has a long history of helping rural communities balance economic development with the value of maintaining the positive aspects of rural life. Recognizing transportation’s crucial role in this balance, the department offers several programs that can assist rural areas and small communities in their efforts to develop sustainable communities through transportation and other related projects. Similarly, the USDOT has launched the Rural Transportation Initiative—a comprehensive set of transportation programs aimed at providing rural communities with a larger capacity to shape their future.



USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Transportation plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of rural areas and small communities. Whether it’s the building and planning of pedestrian-oriented main streets in small towns to stimulate economic development, or the improvement of public transportation infrastructure to enhance the movement of goods or access to jobs, transportation literally binds a community together. Helping the people of rural America develop sustainable communities and improve their quality of life is the mission area of USDA's Rural Development. Within the Office of Rural Development, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service and USDA’s Rural Housing Service both oversee funding programs that can be used for transportation related projects that enhance the sustainable development of rural America. Rural areas and small communities can tailor the benefits of these programs towards the development of transportation systems that stimulate economic activity while maintaining the unique quality of life found in rural America.

RURAL BUSINESS-COOPERATIVE SERVICE

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service has several programs that can be used to support transportation related projects in rural areas and small communities.

-Applicants interested in implementing transportation related projects that will help improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities may be eligible for loans through the Business and Industry Direct Loan Program. For example, loans for projects that enhance public transportation infrastructure can reduce auto emissions that have a negative impact on the environmental climate of rural communities. Those same projects can stimulate the economy of rural communities by enhancing the flow of commerce, and by providing access to jobs.

-Community development projects that are transportation related may be funded by the Intermediary Relending Program. For example, lending institutions can be financed by the government to, in turn, provide loans for the revitalization of small downtown main streets.

-Through Rural Business Enterprise Grants, applicants may be eligible for grants used for, among other things, the acquisition and development of land and the construction of buildings, plants, equipment, access streets and roads. The funding of anyone of these activities can help reduce the cost of individual transportation related projects that, collectively, can enhance rural communities.

-Rural Business Opportunity Grants are intended to help promote sustainable economic development through the provision of technical assistance, training, and planning activities. An example of a possible use of grant funds might be for technical assistance needed to develop a plan to revitalize a small community's mainstreet.

-Rural Economic Development Loans provide zero interest loans to promote rural economic development and job creation projects. An example of a possible use of these types of loans might be to assist businesses in a rural community with the development of a job access program.

-Rural Economic Development Grants can be used for projects that, among other things, create jobs, promote long-term improvements in economic development, reduce unemployment rates, and include a community-based economic development program. Many well planned community-oriented transportation projects can do all of the above.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICE

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Housing Service provides direct loans, guaranteed loans, and grants for community facilities. Certain public transportation facilities may qualify for these funds. Some past examples include:

  • Airport Hanger
  • Airport
  • Bridge
  • City Airport
  • Municipal & County Garage
  • Offstreet Parking
  • Sidewalks
  • Street Improvements
  • Infrastructure for Industrial Park
  • Railroad
  • Town Bus Service/Equipment
  • Marina
  • Municipal Dock
  • Special Transportation Equipment

Other types of public transportation facilities may also qualify.



USDA FOREST SERVICE

With a mission of "caring for the land and serving the people," the USDA Forest Service recognizes the need to balance the conservation of natural resources with the need to ensure that nearby communities are not denied the economic benefits of living near a National Forest.   The USDA Forest Service has several programs that complement community transportation with the goal of improving rural community sustainability.  The programs are designed to assist communities located within or adjacent to National Forests, and to assist communities that wish to use wood-based resources as an alternative for transportation infrastructure.  

ROAD MANAGEMENT

There are few more irreparable marks that can be left on public lands than to build a road. The USDA Forest Service's overriding objective of road management is to work with local communities to provide a forest road system that best serves the management objectives and public uses of national forests and grasslands while protecting the health of affected watersheds.

Individual national forest lands will employ a scientifically-based road analysis procedure to assess environmental and social issues and concerns associated with maintaining, constructing, reconstructing, and decommissioning National Forest System roads. Because of the potential impact on local communities, this process will include extensive public involvement at the local level. Potential economic impacts to nearby communities as a result of local road decisions will be addressed and documented in an appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document.

WOOD IN TRANSPORTATION

Through its Wood in Transportation Program, USDA Forest Service is helping rural areas and small communities use alternative resources for transportation infrastructure.   The purpose of the Wood in Transportation Program is to improve local transportation networks and revitalize local economies by using wood for bridges and related transportation structures.

With technical and financial assistance from the program, communities can build highway bridges, portable bridges for temporary access, and pedestrian and trail structures--all made out of advanced construction design wood.  Rural areas and communities can take advantage of this program to provide quality transportation infrastructure at reduced costs. 

RURAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Rural Community Assistance programs help rural communities build skills and develop strategies to address social, environmental and economic change.  Already, this program has been used to help rural communities enhance their transportation infrastructure--increasing tourism and providing connections between communities and adjacent national forests.



USDOT's RURAL TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) designed the Rural Transportation Initiative to ensure that rural areas and small communities share in the mobility, economic, and social benefits that many USDOT programs provide. The Initiative aims to increase the capacity of rural America to play a more integral role in the planning and decision-making that shape transportation systems. It also provides an array of technical assistance and grant programs to enable communities to plan, develop and improve air, surface, and water transportation infrastructure.

RURAL INITIATIVE OBJECTIVES

  • Improve safety to reduce the human and material costs that are unintended consequences of the operation of the transportation systems in rural areas;
  • Allow residents of rural areas and small communities access to the destinations and goods to attain their desired quality of life;
  • Provide the transportation service that will afford rural areas and small communities the opportunity to reach their economic growth and trade potential;
  • Enhance the social strength and cohesiveness of small communities and protect the natural environment of rural areas; and
  • Maintain the national security and border integrity necessary for the well being of all Americans.

RURAL INITIATIVE OUTCOMES

  • Safety – Highway deaths and injuries decrease, rail-highway crossings are upgraded, roads are upgraded to reduce run-off-the-road incidents, and medical response time is shortened;
  • Travel – Non-auto alternatives for those who cannot or choose not to drive increase and solutions are found to increase and support rural tourism;
  • Environment – Rural air and water as well as culture, historic, scenic and natural resources are protected and transportation does not have an adverse affect on land use in rural areas and small communities.
  • Economic Activity – Efficient transport of passengers and freight through rural areas and small communities allows these communities to compete on an equal footing for the business created by the provision of new and different transportation services; and
  • Response to Demographic Changes – Older residents’ transportation needs are met and mobility choices to access jobs are assured.


USDOT PROGRAMS

USDOT programs can help address the safety, infrastructure, and other concerns outlined in the objectives of the Rural Initiative. Many of these programs are authorized through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21). By passing these authorizing bills, Congress provided rural America with many tools to address its transportation system in a holistic manner. 

ELIGIBILITY

The basic eligibility criteria for all USDOT programs include the following:

Eligible recipients are state, metropolitan planning organizations, transit operators, city and county governments, planning agencies and other public bodies with the authority to plan or construct transportation services and facilities. Non-profit, community and civic organizations are strongly encouraged to participate in program planning and development as partners with eligible recipients.

Eligible project planning activities include: 1) the preparation of implementation plans and designs incorporating safe livable elements, 2) the assessment of environmental, social, economic, land use and design impacts of projects, 3) feasibility studies, 4) technical assistance, 5) participation by community organizations, and the business community, including small and minority owned businesses, and persons with disabilities, 6) the evaluation of best practices, and 7) the development of innovative design, land use and zoning practices. Planning organizations that receive USDOT planning funds are expected to incorporate the objectives of the Rural Initiative into their regular planning work programs

Eligible capital activities or capital project enhancements include: 1) property acquisition, restoration or demolition of existing structures, site preparation, utilities, restoration of historic buildings, building foundations, bikeways and trails, walkways, open spaces that are physically or functionally related to the transportation project; 2) the purchase of buses, enhancements to transportation intermodal centers, park-and-ride lots and transfer facilities incorporating community services such as day care, health care and public safety; 3) safety elements such as lighting, rail-crossings; 4) Intelligent Transportation Systems technology such as GPS vehicle location and dispatch systems and associated computer software, and 5) traveler information for tourists and other rural travelers, and improved access to transit services; operational enhancements such as transit marketing and pass programs, especially for job access.

PROGRAMS

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION

Statewide Planning
The statewide planning process establishes a cooperative, continuous, and comprehensive framework for making surface transportation investment decisions throughout the state and is administered jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP)
As the primary transportation information resource for local and tribal governments, the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) provide access to technical assistance, training, and information on new transportation technologies. Technology transfer activities are made available through a variety of projects including services provided by its network of 57 LTAP centers. Centers are located in each state and Puerto Rico; and six Tribal Technical Assistance Program centers (TTAP) serve the needs of tribal governments. The LTAP assists local and tribal governments in developing well-trained and motivated staffs, resulting in an improved transportation network that helps sustain rural economies.

HIGHWAY PROGRAMS

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administers a wide array of programs, including those pertaining to roads, highways, bridges, and corridors.  A full list of FHWA programs is available on the main FHWA website.  Technical assistance and project-specific questions can be directed to the FHWA's field offices.

National Corridor Planning and Development Program
The purpose of the National Corridor Planning and Development Program is coordinated planning, design, and construction of corridors of national significance, economic growth, and international or interregional trade.

Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)
The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) provides Federal credit assistance to major transportation investments of critical national importance, such as intermodal facilities, border crossing infrastructure, expansion of multi-State highway trade corridors, and other investments with regional and national benefits. The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing supplemental and subordinate capital.

Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation--Off System Bridges
The purpose of this program is to replace or rehabilitate deficient highway bridges and to seismic retrofit bridges located on any public road.

Federal Lands Highways
This program provides funding for more than 80,000 miles of federally-owned and public-authority owned roads and transit facilities that serve Federal lands. They include the following categories: Indian Reservation Roads, Park Roads and Parkways, Public Lands Highways (discretionary and Forest Highways), and (Wildlife) Refuge Roads.

Emergency Relief
The purpose of Emergency Relief is to assist state and local governments with the cost of repairing serious damage to Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal Lands caused by natural disasters or catastrophic failures from an external cause.

TRANSIT PROGRAMS

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administers a wide array of programs, including those pertaining to buses and vanpools.  A complete list of the major FTA assistance programs is available on the main FTA website.  Technical assistance and project-specific questions may be directed to the Federal Transit Administration's field offices.

Rural Transit Assistance Program
Eligible projects include activities that support rural transit providers with training and technical assistance, research, and related support services. Each state gets an annual allocation of funds for RTAP that can be used for projects such as newsletters, training courses, scholarships for training, and circuit riders. In addition, RTAP funds are used for a national project that supports the state RTAP managers, maintains a rural transit database, produces training modules, and provides a rural transit resource center. There is no local share requirement.

Financial Assistance for Other than Urbanized Areas
Eligible projects include transit capital, operating, and project administration expenses and state administration, for rural transit. Service must be available to the general public. Intercity bus service in rural areas also is eligible. Coordination with human service transportation is encouraged. The Federal share generally is 80 percent for capital and 50 percent for operating assistance. Contract revenue from human service agencies may be used for the local match.

Grants and Loans for Special Needs of Elderly Individuals and those with Disabilities
The purpose of this program is to help provide transit capital assistance, through states, to organizations that provide specialized transportation service for elderly individuals and those with disabilities.

Rural Transportation Accessibility Incentive Program
The purpose is to help over-the-road bus operators finance the incremental capital and training costs of complying with the Department's final rule on accessibility of over-the-road buses.

Transit Capital Investment Grants and Loans Program (Bus and Bus Related)
The purpose is to provide capital support for transit infrastructure.

Transit Benefits
The Internal Revenue Code is modified to make transit and vanpool benefits more comparable with employee parking benefits by increasing the limit on non-taxable transit and vanpool benefits from $65 to $100 per month beginning after December 31, 2001. In addition, transit and vanpool benefits may be offered in lieu of compensation payable to an employee beginning in 1998.

Job Access and Reverse Commute Grants
The purpose is to:
(1) develop transportation services designed to transport welfare recipients and low-income individuals to and from jobs, and;
(2) to develop transportation services for residents of urban centers and rural and suburban areas to suburban employment opportunities.

AVIATION PROGRAMS

Airport planning may be done on an area-wide or individual airport basis, with input from local officials. Area-wide planning includes preparation of airport system plans for states, regions and metropolitan areas. These plans identify the aviation facilities needed to meet current and future air transportation needs. Grants for airport system planning are made to planning agencies having area-wide jurisdiction over the area being studied. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses this information in preparing the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

Essential Air Service
This program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978 maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. The Department currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 100 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.

Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR 21)
This new, major aviation legislation increases the Small Airport Fund, guarantees funding for General Aviation Airports, and allows pavement maintenance projects to be funded under the Airport Improvement Program at nonprimary airports.

RAIL PROGRAMS

Rail Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing--Loan and Loan Guarantee Program
This program provides credit assistance, through direct loans and loan guarantees, to public or private sponsors of intermodal and rail projects for railroad capital improvements.

Light Density Rail Line Pilot Projects
This program funds light density rail line pilot projects.  Eligible projects include capital improvements and rehabilitation of publicly and privately owned rail line structures.  Funds may not be used for operating assistance.  Eligible applicants are states that have state rail plans.

U.S. COAST GUARD AND MARITIME PROGRAMS

Recreational Boating Safety Program
The purpose of this program is to assist the states and U.S. Territories with programs to protect recreational boaters.  Eligible projects include facilities, equipment, and supplies for boating safety education and law enforcement, training personnel in skills related to boating safety and enforcement, providing public boating safety education, acquiring, constructing or repairing public access sites used primarily by recreational boaters, conducting boating safety inspections, establishing and maintaining emergency or search and rescue facilities, and establishing and maintaining waterway markers. There are a number of state eligibility requirements, such as the requirement to have a vessel numbering system.

Marine Transportation System
The Marine Transportation System, or MTS, consists of waterways, ports and intermodal landside connections which allow the various modes of transportation to move people and goods to, from, and on the water.  In 1998, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and nine other federal agencies agreed to expand the coordination of their efforts for furthering the goals and needs of the Marine Transportation System. The MTS process provides a way to bring all parties together to develop one voice for water transportation.

COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENTS

Rural areas and small communities are facing many environmental, demographic, and economic changes--challenges that are the inevitable byproducts of growing travel demand, increased sprawl, and dispersed destinations.  The challenge is to maintain the vitality of these rural areas and small communities while preserving and protecting the natural, historic, scenic, and cultural environment.  The USDOT has a wide range of programs directed specifically toward protecting and enhancing communities and the natural environment, both of which can be impacted by transportation.  These programs are significant tools in preserving the quality of life and environment in rural America.

Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot Program
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century established the Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot Program (TCSP) in response to the increasing interest in “smart growth” policies that encourage investments in maintenance of existing infrastructure over new construction, investment in high-growth corridors, and efficient access to jobs and services. The key purpose of this pilot program is to devise neighborhood, local, metropolitan, state, or regional strategies that improve the efficiency of the transportation system, minimize environmental impacts, and reduce the need for costly public infrastructure investments.

Transportation Enhancements
The purpose is to fund transportation-related activities designed to strengthen cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the Nation's transportation system.

National Scenic Byways Program
The purpose of The National Scenic Byway Program is to provide national recognition of roads that represent outstanding examples of scenic, historic, cultural, recreational, and natural qualities as well as to provide technical and financial assistance.

Recreational Trails Program
The purpose is to provide and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. 

Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways
The purpose is to promote the increased use and safety of bicycling and walking as transportation modes.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program
The purpose of this program is to fund projects for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (nonattainment areas) and former nonattainment areas that are now in compliance (maintenance areas) for ozone, carbon monoxide, and small particulate matter.  Funding is to help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

Intelligent Transportation Systems
The ITS program provides for the research, development, and operational testing of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) aimed at solving congestion and safety problems, improving operating efficiencies in transit and commercial vehicles, and reducing the environmental impact of growing travel demand. Proven technologies that are technically feasible and highly cost effective will be deployed nationwide as a component of the surface transportation systems of the United States.

SAFETY PROGRAMS

Promoting and improving safety is the USDOT's highest priority. The Department continues to have a strong focus on highway safety, in particular, because about 94 percent of all transportation-related fatalities and injuries involve highway motor vehicle crashes. Rural America has a significant highway safety problem. Close to 80 percent of the Nation's roadway miles are in rural areas; over 58 percent of the total fatalities occur in rural areas and the fatality rate for rural areas (per 100 million vehicles miles of travel) is more than twice that of urban areas. Crashes in rural areas are more likely to result in fatalities due to a combination of factors including extreme terrain, faster speeds, more alcohol involvement, and the longer time intervals from the advent of a crash to medical treatment due to delays in locating crash victims and the distance to medical treatment centers. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s highway safety goals are: 1) a 50 percent reduction in truck crash-related fatalities by 2010, and 2) a 20 percent reduction in crash-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2008.

Among the priority safety areas for the Department of Transportation are reducing single-vehicle run-off-road fatal crashes -- two-thirds of which occur in rural areas. Many of these fatal crashes take place on two-lane rural roads and involve vehicles striking fixed objects, or going down an embankment or into a ditch. Speeding is another factor in many run-off-the road rural crashes.

Additionally, priority programs to increase seat belt use and reduce alcohol-impaired driving nationwide will have a major influence on reducing highway fatalities and injuries in rural areas. The Department also focuses on safety of bicycling and walking, because these are prevalent methods of transportation in some rural areas. They constitute a safety problem -- 35 percent of the bicyclists’ fatalities were in rural areas and although fewer pedestrians are injured in rural areas than in urban areas, they are more likely to result in fatalities largely because of the time it takes to get to a hospital.

Continued reductions in the aviation accident rate, during a period of rapid growth in air travel, remain a primary task of the Department. Efforts to reduce highway-railway grade crossing crashes also are continuing.



USDA AND USDOT PROGRAM EXAMPLES

Send us your success story to share with others.

American Farmland Trust's Timber Bridge at Cove Mountain Farm, Franklin County, Pennsylvania (USDA)--Cove Mt. Farm is dissected by Little Cove Creek.  While the stream is usually shallow, storms can cause water levels to rise quickly, preventing equipment and livestock from crossing.  While this might not be an issue on most farms, having a dairy on the opposite side of the creek from a milking station can be a real problem.  In cooperation with the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council, engineers from the USDA Forest Service designed a wood bridge to address this problem, saving the American Farmland Trust between $14,000 and $54,000.  

Information: National Wood and Transportation Information Center (304) 285-1591

Katy Trail State ParkKaty Trail State Park: Linking Communities for 200 Miles in Missouri (USDOT)– A public-private partnership that, once completed, will be one of the longest rail-to-trails conversions in the U.S. creating a transportation route that crosses nine counties and links villages with few than 15 residents to towns of more than 50,000. The historic Sedalia Depot will be restored as part of the project.

Funding Sources: DOT Transportation Enhancement, State of Missouri, and Private benefactor

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates the 233 mile long Katy Trail will attract over 200,000 users each year. The State of Missouri bought the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and the first segment opened in April of 1990. Katy follows the Missouri River from St. Charles past Jefferson City to Boonville, then continue southwest to Sedalia; with plans for an extension from Sedalia to the outskirts of Clinton.

Katy's surface is hard-packed, crushed limestone makes it available to wheelchairs, thin-tired bicycles, mountain bikes, as well as walkers and runners. Places like Easley have opened bike-rental shops and two old railroad depots in Sedalia and Boonville will be restored. It is hoped that eventually the trail can continue to the suburbs of Kansas City.

Tourist stops along the way that booster use include Marthasville, once home of Daniel Boone; Defiance, named for enticing a railroad stop away from a neighboring town; Augusta, the heart of German culture in the 1800's; pre-Civil War Rocheport, mentioned in the journals of Lewis and Clark; and Boonville, the first major river port and later a booming railroad town.

Information: FHWA Environmental Planning, 202-366-0106

Hillside made of cloth in IdahoA Hillside Made of Cloth: Idaho’s Lost Trail Pass (USDOT)-- The geotextile wall built on this slope—one of the steepest and highest roadsides in the country—saved trees and helped prevent soil from eroding into a salmon-spawning stream. Native plants were used because they can handle the conditions – "they are site-adapted and genetically suited" says Jan Kruegar

Funding Sources: ISTEA demonstration funds, State of Idaho

The idea was the brainchild of geotechnical experts from FHWA's Western Federal Lands Highway Division who designed this fabric-reinfot alt="Hillside made of cloth in Idaho" border=0>A Hillside Made of Cloth: Idaho’s Lost Trail Pass (USDOT)-- The geotextile wall built on this slope—one of the steepest and highest roadsides in the country—saved trees and helped prevent soil from eroding into a salmon-spawning stream. Native plants were used because they can handle the conditions – "they are site-adapted and genetically suited" says Jan Kruegar

Funding Sources: ISTEA demonstration funds, State of Idaho

The idea was the brainchild of geotechnical experts from FHWA's Western Federal Lands Highway Division who designed this fabric-reinforced slope along a reconstructed section of Scenic Byway U.S. Highway 93 between Salmon, Idaho, and the Montana state line. The new geotextile slope is 50 feet high and 45 degrees steep. It had to be that high to save trees and to present soil from sliding into a creek below where, every year, salmon come to spawn before returning to the Salmon River downstream.

This slope was crucial for draining water and controlling erosion - a drainage system that would not contain water and build up pressure but instead would let excess water seep out gradually and slowly. This design also surpassed the esthetic and environmental goals for it not only saved close to 100 tall pine trees but thousand of young salmon. Using innovative techniques, construction workers were able to cover the entire area with an erosion control mat, revegetate using native plants and a "hydro-seeding" process. Using native plants that were site-adapted and genetically suited were critical to the project's success. The new slope is covered with a thick canopy of grasses and healthy shrubs and the plants are reseeding themselves.

Information: FHWA Environmental Planning, 202-366-0106

East Main Street reconstruction in Westminster, MarylandEast Main Street Reconstruction, Westminster, MD (USDOT) - Through intensive community planning and hearings, the new plan for Main St. would save the 42 trees, add 104 new trees, widen sidewalks, add sidewalks - complimenting the historic buildings, reduced lane width, historic "street furniture" such as hitching posts were conserved. Lesson learned - citizen involvement at beginning saves time and dollars and brings increased demand for downtown retail and office space. (Flexibility in Highway Design)

Funding Sources: FHWA State Highway Formula Apportionment funds, Maryland DOT, City of Westminster

East Main Street has changed little since Jeb Stuart's cavalry pursued the 1st Delaware down its dusty way on June 29, 1863, in a prelude to Gettysburg. By 1990, Westminster had doubled its population, shopping malls were replacing downtown businesses, and the very age that had made downtown Westminster a National Register Historic District was eroding its attractions.

After the city and the public rejected original designs, the State appointed a committee to work with the community to come up with a design that would save trees, add trees, save and add to brick sidewalks and textured crossings, more efficient use of parking spaces, and preservation of heritage "street furniture such as boot scrapers and hitching posts.

Current and future street-improvement projects will involve residents and designers at initial states, and, as the construction takes place, flyers will tell people what is going to be done, when, and where.

Information: Maryland Department of Transportation, 410-321-2213



ADDITIONAL FUNDING AND TECHNICAL RESOURCES



PLANNING RESOURCES



CONTACT US

  1. by E-mail:
    Eileen S. Stommes, USDA
    or
    Joyce Koeneman, USDOT

  2. OR

  3. write to:
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Office of Transportation Policy Development
    1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
    Washington, DC 20590