Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Related

1. What types of projects are funded by the Enhancement Program?

Using the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) guidelines as defined under MAP-21, IDOT is accepting project applications for ITEP funding in the following categories/sub-categories:

  1. Provision of on-road and off-road facilities for pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorized forms of transportation.
     
  2. Landscaping and other scenic beautification as a part of the construction of a Federal-Aid highway project under (23 USC § 319 (a)) or in conjunction with a TAP funded project (see Appendix 9 for more information).

    Note: Landscape/streetscape projects are
    no longer eligible as a stand-alone project.
     
  3. Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, or other non-motorized transportation users.
     
  4. Community improvement activities including:
    A) Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities.
    B) Vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way to improve roadway safety, prevent against invasive species and provide erosion control.
    C) Archaeological activities relating to impacts from implementation of a transportation project eligible under Title 23 USC (See Appendix 9 for more information).
     
  5. Any environmental mitigation activities, relating to pollution prevention and pollution abatement activities and mitigation to:
    A) Address storm water management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff, including activities described in sections 133(b)(11), 328(a) and 329 of Title 23 (See Appendix 9 for more information); or
    B) Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats.
     
  6. Construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas.
     
  7. Planning, design or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other Divided Highways.
    This is a new category under MAP-21 and little guidance has been provided regarding restrictions for this category. Until additional Federal guidance is available, IDOT will not use this category in the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program.
     

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 the department 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, but often, projects still require feasibility studies, design and environmental studies before construction can proceed. A detailed cost estimate is required with all project submittals. This will help insure 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.

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 has to be determined on a case by case basis. The ITEP Guidelines Manual lists eligible and ineligible elements for each specific category. 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 ITEP@dot.il.govv. Please note - any ITEP 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 in 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. For projects exceeding $1.5 million project sponsors are encouraged to consider ways to phase their projects into logical segments should only partial funding be provided. The federal portion of eligible costs is 80% with the exception of street lighting and land acquisition which is funded at 50 percent for projects selected under the program.

2. What are my chances of getting funding?
ITEP is a very popular program. Since 2006, the amount of funds requested compared to the amount of funds available is approximately 5 to 1.

3. Our community has already received funding for an ITEP project in the past. Does this affect our chances of receiving future ITEP funds?
No. Project selection is based on eligibility and merit.

4. 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:

  • The sponsor can seek funds from other public or private sources
  • The project can be reduced to fit within the funding provided
  • 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 office in your area is responsible for project implementation and should be the point of contact once you’ve received your letter. (See Sunset Clause in Guidelines Manual – Section H). 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 a point 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 local IDOT District Local Roads office shortly after receiving approval notification.

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 and is available on IDOT’s website (www.dot.il.govv) under ‘Doing Business – Forms’.

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 procedures. You may need to adjust accordingly. Contact your local IDOT District enhancement coordinator with any related inquiries.

5. What is the Federal Flexible Match Program (FFM)?
This program allows new 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’ towards construction and construction engineering to use as part of the local match. This does not increase your funding level. See Appendix 6 of the ITEP Guidelines Manual for additional information.

6. What if I am unable to meet the time frame for project implementation as defined under the Sunset Clause??
TThis policy has been instituted to help reduce the amount of un-obligated ITEP funds which are subject to federal rescissions. 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.

IDOT District Enhancement Program Coordinators

 District

Program Development
(state-sponsored projects)

Local Roads and Streets
(local-sponsored projects)

1

Brian Carlson
(847) 705-4080

Christopher Holt
(847) 705-4201

 

 

 

2

Kristine Tobin
(815) 284-5444

Jason Nelson
(815) 284-5380

 

 

 

3

Tom Magolan
(815) 434-8472

Don Ernat
(815) 434-8402

 

 

 

4

Maureen Addis
(309) 671-3495

Tony Sassine
(309) 671-3690

 

 

 

5

Jeffrey Allen
(217) 466-7313

Scott Lackey
(217) 466-7358

 

 

 

6

Sal Madonia
(217) 782-7332

Terry Fountain
(217) 782-4690

 

 

 

7

Tim Hemmen
(217) 342-8242

Maureen Kastl
(217) 342-8321

 

 

 

8

Tiffany Brase
(618) 346-3150

Lora Rensing
(618) 346-3330

 

 

 

9

Doug Keirn
(618) 351-5285

Lance Gribble
(618) 351-5264

Dennis Hillebrenner
(618) 351-5260

 

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