MPO Grant Programs
While the MPO is responsible for approving the selection of all transportation projects funded with federal assistance, regardless of the grant program, the agency does have direct selection authority for a handful of programs. The following is a list of funding programs for which the MPO selects projects.
Historical Allocations of MPO Program Funds (FYs 2002-2009):
Surface Transportation Program (STP)
The Surface Transportation Program provides the funding to localities for projects on any Federal-aid highway. These include the National Highway System, bridge projects on any public road, transit capital projects, and intracity and intercity bus terminals and facilities. The primary purpose of these projects is to reduce congestion and improve safety and efficiency of regional multi-modal transportation systems.
The Nashville Area MPO has discretion to award Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds authorized by the United States Congress and receives an allocation of STP on behalf of the Nashville-Davidson Urbanized Area (U-STP) and the Murfreesboro Urbanized Area (M-STP).
Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program (CMAQ)
The purpose of the CMAQ program is to fund transportation projects or programs that will contribute to attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM). The CMAQ program supports two important goals of the Department of Transportation: improving air quality and relieving congestion. While these goals are not new elements of the program, they are strengthened in a new provision added to the CMAQ statute by SAFETEA-LU, establishing priority consideration for cost-effective emission reduction and congestion mitigation activities when using CMAQ funding.
Transportation Planning Grants
The MPO receives annual funding to carry out its federally-mandated metropolitan planning requirements. Each year, the MPO solicits ideas from the community and local governments for how best to direct those funds into planning activities. In general, planning funds are derived from three federal grant programs:
- FHWA Section 112 funds (also known as "PL," or planning funds) – PL funds are grant funds set-aside by Congress specifically for the purpose of carrying-out metropolitan planning requirements. The funds can be used for up to 80% of a project, with a required 20% match typically provided by local governments.
- FHWA State Planning and Research (SPR) funds - SPR funds are set-aside by Congress for supporting transportation planning in non-MPO or rural portions of states. In Tennessee, these funds are administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. When appropriate, TDOT shares SPR funds with MPOs to help plan for the non-urbanized portion of an MPO's planning area or to perform specific studies that have statewide significance on behalf of TDOT. A 20% match is required that can be provided by either TDOT or local jurisdictions, depending on the project.
- FTA Section 5303 funds - Section 5303 funds are federal funds designated for transit planning and research activities in MPO areas. Up to 80% federal funds can be used for a project. The remaining 20% match is typically divided between state and local government, with each contributing 10%.