The Transportation Enhancement Program is a sub-category of the Surface Transportation Program (STP) administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Federal legislation requires that 10% of the STP funding be used on various enhancement activities. Eligible projects include:
- Bicycle and pedestrian facilities
- Bicycle and pedestrian safety and education programs
- Acquiring scenic easements
- Scenic or historic highway programs, including welcome centers
- Landscaping and other scenic beautification
- Historic preservation of transportation facilities
- Rehabilitation of and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures and facilities
- Preservation of abandoned railway corridors
- Inventory, control and removal of outdoor advertising
- Archaeological planning and research related to a transportation enhancement project
- Environmental mitigation of highway runoff and wildlife mortality
- Establishment of transportation museums
The Transportation Enhancement Program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT). Half of the annual allocation to Connecticut is used by ConnDOT for projects of statewide significance and the other half is sub-allocated to the fifteen regional planning organizations based on population. It is anticipated that the MetroCog will be able to program about $1.3 million in Transportation Enhancement funds over the next four years. Over that same timeframe, the ConnDOT will spend nearly $17.7 million on significant state projects.
The MetroCog has allocated Transportation Enhancement funds primarily to the design and construction of the Housatonic Railroad Trail. Several grant awards have been received to build the trail in Bridgeport, including funds to purchase and demolish the inactive Berkshire Spur rail line, Monroe from Wolfe Park to Newtown and Trumbull through the Pequonnock Valley.