External Transportation Funding

Working with our Partners

In order to address growing transportation challenges, improve multi-modal connections, and help pursue key priorities, the National Park Service must look beyond its own internal funding sources. NPS units can partner with state, regional, and local governments to access external transportation funding opportunities. These funding opportunities do not typically provide funding to parks directly. Instead, they often require close coordination with local partners.
Go to NPS External Funding video series


This series of fact sheets aims to help national parks and partners to identify and position themselves to access external funding opportunities. The best way to learn about external transportation funding opportunities is by getting involved in the state or regional transportation planning process. Participation can help park staff build relationships with other transportation stakeholders, align park transportation needs and activities with state and regional priorities, and ensure important projects are included in transportation plans to become eligible for additional federal funding.

The fact sheets series provides an overview of five external funding programs:

  1. The Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) provides funds for projects to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within federal lands.
  2. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program provides funding for transportation projects, programs, and operational strategies that reduce vehicle congestion and air pollutants.
  3. The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) are two important Federal Highway Administration programs that benefit NPS units and their partners. NPS units typically utilize the TA Set-Aside to fund the construction and rehabilitation of paved, multi-use trails and historic transportation facilities like bridges. The NPS typically uses the RTP to fund the development, maintenance, and restoration of recreational trails.
  4. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) offers several funding programs for transit projects, including funding for transit capital, planning, and operating assistance in urban and rural areas, and funding for buses and bus facilities.
  5. The Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program (FBP) provides funding for the purchase, lease, or construction of new ferries and ferry facilities, or for construction and preventative maintenance activities for existing ferries and facilities.
  6. Nationally Competitive Grant Programs are available to fund large-scale, nationally or regionally significant transportation projects. The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program, and the Nationally SIgnificant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) program are highly competitive.

Last updated: September 12, 2018