Funding Sources

A Snapshot of Funding Sources for Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Planning, Design, and Construction

Transportation funding is one of the most complicated systems in the state. If you’re pursing funding for organizing or campaigning, operating a program, for a study or plan, or an infrastructure project, we encourage you to Contact the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. This list is not intended to be exhaustive and serves only as a jumping-off point for thinking about how to find money for costs associated with organizing and administration, campaigning, planning and engineering, building infrastructure, or operating programs.

Other Resources for Funding Information

Municipal Resources

If you’re looking for funding for a local infrastructure project, step one is to talk to your municipal staff person. This could be the planner, engineer, grant-writer, assistant town manager, town administrator, or public works director. Finding the right staff person who can help you with funding will depend on the size of your town. In a small town, start with your town manager or administrator and Public Works Director. Asking questions about how projects are funding is also an easy way to get the bike/ped conversation started with town staff. Sources of municipal construction funding may include:

  • Municipal Capital Improvement Program (CIP Yearly Budget)
  • Town Budget
  • Bonding
  • Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIF Districts). TIFs allow communities to capture incremental growth in property tax revenue, over a period of time, for reinvestment within the community.

Independent Fundraising

  • Local Fundraising Campaign: A great online tool for organizing a local fundraising campaign for a civic project is:
  • Local Community Groups (e.g. Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Masons, Lions)
    • Local community groups can often provide support in the $500-$5000 range.
    • The Kiwanis Club has a historical connection to bicycle safety education, but these other groups are often helpful for volunteers as well as funding.
  • Local businesses (e.g. Banks, Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Organizations)

Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs):

 Regional Councils of Government (COGs):

These regional entities can sometimes provide Municipalities that want to create a bike/ped plan can apply for funding and technical assistance through their Regional COG. The funding for this type of community study comes from Maine’s Planning Partnership Initiative (PPI).

  • Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments
  • Eastern Maine Development Corporation
  • Greater Portland Council of Governments
  • Hancock County Planning Commission
  • Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
  • Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission
  • Northern Maine Development Commission
  • South Maine Planning and Development Commission
  • Washington County Council of Governments

Local Maine Foundations

  • Grants from foundations are typically used to sustain organizational activities devoted to a specific goal.
  • Maine has many other charitable foundations that help fund initiatives that benefit communities across the state. The top giving foundations in Maine are listed at The Grantsmanship Center
  • Note that most grantors will not issue grants to groups unless they possess 501c3 tax-exempt status. Sometimes an existing non-profit will function as fiscal agent for another group, usually with about at 10% administrative charge on whatever amount is received.
  • Maine Community Foundation
    • This organization has a Community Building Grant Program that local bike/ped groups may be interested in.
    • The Community Building Grant Program seeks to support organizations and programs that recognize and build on a community’s strengths and assets.
    • The Community Building Grant Program will award two types of grants: Project grants for new and expanding programs and grants to improve organizational effectiveness, also known as capacity building.
    • Grants are available for up to $10,000. These funds cannot be used to support ongoing programs, capital campaigns, or scholarships.

Maine Office of Community Development

  • Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Program 
    • Each year the State of Maine receives an allocation of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be distributed to eligible Maine communities under the CDBG Program.
    • Some of these funds can be used for physical infrastructure safety improvements such as building sidewalks and other quality of place facilities.
    • CBDG Program Categories:
      • Downtown Revitalization Program – includes sidewalks
      • Public Facilities – includes parks and recreation facilities
      • Public Infrastructure – includes streets, roads and sidewalks, curbs and gutters
      • Maine Downtown Center Assistance – includes planning, capacity building, technical assistance and administration directly related to furthering the Maine Downtown Center’s objectives in building vibrant, sustainable Maine downtowns
      • Economic Development Program – includes streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, etc. owned by the municipality or public or private utility and where improvements would support of an identified business which will create or retain jobs in the non-retail sector for low and moderate income persons. For the Economic Development Program, Letters of Intent to Apply are due the firstFriday of each month by 4pm.
    • For infrastructure improvement projects in Auburn, Bangor, Biddeford, Lewiston, Portland and anywhere else in Cumberland County (with the exception of Baldwin, Brunswick, Casco and Frye Island) – these areas have a local CBDG funding process.
    • Letter of Intent Deadlines Vary by program. For More Information see the CDBD Program Statement
    • Contact your local municipal staff to learn more about application deadlines
  • Other Grant Programs
    • Dependent on pass-through of federal funding and availability of money from the Communities for Maine’s Future Bond Program.

Maine Department of Transportation

The MaineDOT usually funds larger comprehensive road projects that can includes bike/ped elements. MaineDOT-funded projects that limited specifically to a bike/ped improvement are usually an exception. The MaineDOT receives federal funds dedicated for biking and walking through the Transportation Alternatives Program. T.A. funding is available for local projects. Almost always a 20% “match” is required from the local community.

Municipal entities or combinations of municipal entities apply to the state for planning or construction of projects. Local entities that are eligible to apply for funding are school districts, local governments, local transportation planning agencies, tribal governments, and public land management agencies.

  • DOT Municipal Partnership Initiative (MPI)
    • The state funding contribution for a project will be capped at $500,000 and generally have a state share of 50% or less.
    • This means the municipality has a higher local match.
    • These projects will not go through the normal planning process.
    • Municipalities request an eligible improvement or an addition to the scope of an existing MaineDOT Project.
    • Shortly thereafter, the Region Engineer meets with the municipal official to scope out the project.  The scoping, approval, agreement, and development processes will be as lean and simple as possible so that a Cooperative Agreement can be signed within 2 months if all goes well.
  • Quality Community Program (QCP) (Also known as Transportation Alternatives or TA)
    • This is the pot of money that towns apply to the state for stand-alone bike/ped projects.
    • Typical types of projects funded under this program include sidewalks, crossing improvements, off-road connections, downtown improvements, etc.
    • Letters of intent occur on a revolving basis
    • It requires a 20% local match.
    • The money is for large design and construction funding.
    • This funding includes Safe Routes to School Projects.
      • SRTS funds are administered within the Quality Community Program for projects within 2 miles of an elementary or middle school.
      • Infrastructure improvements must be within two miles of a school to make walking and biking safer for students (e.g. for sidewalks, signage, crossings, bike lanes, traffic calming, etc.).

Maine Department of Conservation

Recreational Trails Program

  • This is federal transportation funding. It’s available every year and is mostly used for trail construction and maintenance.
  • RTP funds three types of projects: motorized trails, non-motorized, a combination of these two, and educational elements to trail projects. 30% of total program funds are for non-motorized uses.
  • $1 million per year is available for all categories of projects
  • Requires a 20% local match

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

Coastal Community Grant Program

  • This is a planning assistance program only. Funds may be used for planning, development of regulatory and non-regulatory policies and programs, project implementation, outreach and education.
  • Funds are not available for land acquisition or construction.
  • This program awards $185,000 in funding each year; maximum award is $50,000
  • Towns have used this program in the past to fund pedestrian trails that increase access to coastal areas.
  • For example, the Town of Yarmouth was awarded funding in 2012 to undertake a feasibility study to identify opportunities for reestablishing pedestrian connections between Main Street, Town Landing and the marinas.
  • Eligible entities include towns in Maine’s coastal zone, groups of towns in Maine’s coastal zone; coastal Regional Planning Commissions; and coastal Councils of Government.
  • You can access the list and a map of eligible coastal communities HERE.


  • The Maine Walking School Bus Program
    • A Walking School Bus (WSB) is a healthy, safe, and cost-effective addition to a school transportation system in which groups of children walk to school each morning under the supervision of trained and vetted adult volunteers.
    • This initiative provides funding and technical assistance to launch adult-supervised daily walk-to-school programs at eligible schools.
    • Through a competitive application process, two schools will receive technical assistance and funding to launch Walking School Bus programs in the spring of 2015.
    • Additional schools will be awarded funding over the next three years.
  • Maine Safe Routes to School Mini-Grants ($250)
  • People For Bikes – Community Grant Program
    • PeopleForBikes generally holds 1-2 open grant cycles every year.
    • PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs.
    • For advocacy projects, we will fund staffing that is directly related to accomplishing the goals of the initiative.
    • PeopleForBikes accepts requests for funding of up to $10,000.
  • Trees on Maine Street
    • One technique of “traffic calming” technique is tree-planting on medians or along curbs.
    • A new grant is available for governments or non-profits for tree-planting.
  • National Safe Routes to School Mini-Grant for Bicycling
    • The National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program are teaming up to provide 25 $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country.
    • These mini-grants support a common goal of both organizations: to support educators, communities and families in encouraging children to safely bike to school.
  • National Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance
    • The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is seeking applications from organizations and communities in need of technical assistance to support campaign efforts related to shared use agreements and street scale improvements in underserved communities.
    • Campaign efforts may include passing Complete Streets policies, getting shared use agreements in place, or other policy efforts relating to Safe Routes to School.
  • Walmart Local Giving Program
    • The Wal-Mart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, workforce development, economic sustainability, and health and wellness.
    • Health and Wellness examples include programs that support nutrition and active lifestyles, educating people of all ages about their health, preventing and managing chronic disease.
    • Deadline: December 31, 2014
  • Aetna Foundation Regional Grants
    • Funding opportunity from the Aetna Foundation for projects that improve healthy eating and physical activity.
    • Eligible applicants must be non-profit organizations.
  • Federal Transit Administration
    • For Maine communities with a transit agency (Portland METRO, Shuttlebus/Zoom, Brunswick Explorer, etc)
    • There’s money available from FTA that will support biking and walking improvements and your local transit agency may be considering applying for those funds.
    • The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released its Notice of Funding Availability for their Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Pilot Program.
    • Check in with your local transit agency if they are thinking about applying to the TOD Planning Pilot Grant Program, and if they are, this is an opportunity to help them scoring additional points on their application by addressing how the TOD project will increase access by walking and biking to transit.

Technical Assistance Grants

These are grants for in-kind services rather than funding