Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated May 3, 2018
2018 Community Design Funding Program (Round 8) FAQs
1. What are the major key elements of the Program that a potential applicant needs to know about?
Some of the key features of the 2018 guidelines for Round 8 that have remained unchanged since the prior funding cycle are:
- The program provides financial support to local government agencies for projects that promote community placemaking. These projects implement the SACOG Blueprint Principles (compact development, mixed of land uses, transportation options, quality design, using existing assets, housing options, and preserving natural resources).
- Cities, counties, air districts, transit districts and agencies that have Master Agreements with Caltrans in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties are eligible to apply, while jurisdictions in El Dorado and Placer counties have their own programs.
- The final funding target has not been established for this round as of this document release. The draft Community Design fund estimate for Round 8 is $16 million, though this estimate is subject to further SACOG Board consideration, which will occur after the release of the Community Design guidelines.
- There are four categories of funding projects: Categories #1A (“Conventional pre-construction only”) and #1B (“Conventional construction”), #2 (“Complete Streets”), and #3 (non-competitive). Categories #1B and #2 have a maximum award of $4 million per project, while Category #3 is non-competitive with a $100,000 maximum award. In Category #1A, funds are allowed for preliminary engineering (design and environmental) and right of way activities that are federal aid eligible and have a maximum award of $500,000. SACOG reserves the right to limit the number to awarded projects in Category #1A. Applicants receiving Category #1A funds in Round 8 must apply for Community Design Funding in Round 9 (some exceptions allowed; be sure to read about additional pre-construction activity requirements).
- Projects activities in competitive categories (categories 1A, 1B, and 2) must be federal transportation aid eligible (construction, environmental review, design or right-of-way purchase for transportation infrastructure).
- All applicants must provide a pre-submittal letter to SACOG to determine project eligibility.
- The applicant’s point-of-contact must be trained in managing federal transportation projects.
- Interviews will be conducted with ALL applicants in Categories #1A, #1B and #2.
- Applications will be evaluated based on how well they implement the Blueprint Principles, the project applicant’s realistic ability to complete the project within three years of receiving its programmed funding, and the past performance by the applicant jurisdiction in delivering SACOG awarded projects.
2. What are the key changes to the program in Round 8 and what is Project Performance Assessment?
Compared to Round 7, Round 8 only has one new enhancement: SACOG will run the Project Performance Assessment (PPA) tool on all Community Design projects applying in the competitive categories. The PPA analysis will be input and operated by SACOG staff, so applicants will not be responsible for running the tool. For more information about the Project Performance Assessment go to: https://www.sacog.org/project-performance-assessment. The PPA output will summarize quantitatively how the project relates to the seven Blueprint principles. SACOG staff will provide this data summary to the Community Design Working Group for deliberation. As in the prior funding round, applicants will be asked to continue to provide more narrative and/or quantitative explanation of the anticipated project performance in the application itself. Applicants are being asked to elaborate on exactly what changes will the project lead to if funded. Examples may include specific private or publicly-owned properties that will change or enhance its land uses as a result of the project and where they are located on a map in relation to the proposed project. More information is described in the body of the application guidelines.
3. What is the Community Design Funding Program?
The Community Design Program was established in 2003 by the SACOG Board of Directors to provide financial assistance on projects that help create placemaking in local communities. Placemaking projects improve the livability of a community by creating spaces that people want to spend time in, congregate in, or make the experience of the place more enjoyable. The awarded funding will help towards the implementation Blueprint Project Principles: mixed land uses, transportation options, housing choice, compact development, use existing assets, quality design, and natural resource protection. The program offers funding for transportation projects by local jurisdictions that implement these principles, but only in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties.
4. What kinds of projects are eligible?
This program provides funding for improvements to public right-of-ways that promote smart growth and are sponsored by an eligible public agency. Awarded projects must be “federal aid eligible” and completed within three years. Projects must have a significant element involving transportation – the construction of infrastructure, environmental review, design or right-of-way purchase are general tasks that are eligible for these funds. The most common prototype project is one where the grant funds activities to engineer and/or construct street improvements along a corridor that has associated infill development or potential. Planning activities by themselves are generally not eligible, with the exception of the Category 3 (non-competitive, $100,000 awards) projects.
5. How is a project determined to be eligible or not?
Because the issue of eligibility is so critical to the program, every project in Categories 1A, 1B and 2 are reviewed on a case-by-case basis for eligibility. Applicants in those categories must submit a pre-submittal letter to SACOG; and, in return, SACOG/Caltrans staff will reply with a letter stating whether the project is eligible and whether there are any foreseeable concerns.
6. Who can apply? What jurisdictions are eligible?
Local jurisdictions in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties that have a Master Agreement with Caltrans to receive federal transportation funding are eligible to apply for Community Design Program funds. This may include cities, counties, air districts, and transit districts and other public agencies. However, the local city or county government in which the project is located must acknowledge the project application and cannot oppose the project.
7. Are applicants required to provide a local match?
Yes. The project sponsors in Categories 1A, 1B or 2 must provide a minimum of 11.47% match in non-federal funds. This means for every $100,000 of total project costs (grant and match combined), the program will pay up to $88,530 for every $11,470 of match provided by the project sponsor. Category 3 recipients must provide a 10% local match.
8. What are the critical dates?
The most important dates, in order are:
- Wednesday, May 30 (1pm)– optional conference call – Community Design Program Orientation;
- Friday, June 8 (4 pm)– deadline for Pre-submittal letters for Categories 1A, 1B and 2 projects;
- Friday, June 29 (4 pm)– deadline for submittal of applications (all categories);
- Tuesday, July 24- submit materials for July 31 work session/interview Categories 1A, 1B and 2
- Tuesday, July 31 – working session/interviews for all projects in Categories 1A, 1B and 2.
9. What are the funding categories?
The categories are: Category #1A and #1B (also called “Conventional Pre-construction” and “Conventional Construction”, respectively), is the catch-all category for a variety of federal‑aid eligible projects that, most commonly, seek improvements to convert transportation corridors into more pedestrian and transit‑friendly environments with associated land use changes. Category #1A allows for a limited number of projects that seek to do pre-construction federal aid eligible activities: engineering design, right-of-way and environmental review, and awarded applicants must apply for construction of Community Design Funds in the following round. Project funding ranges are described in the guidelines. Category #1B is for the construction of these projects. Category #2 projects are a sub-set of Category 1B projects that are federal‑aid eligible “Complete Streets” projects seeking at least $1.5 million. Category 3 is for applicants seeking $100,000 or less and is non-competitive. Cities and counties may only apply for this if they do not apply in Categories 1 or 2. This is the only category in which projects may be awarded non-federal funding sources.
10. What’s involved in the application process?
The applicant sends a pre-submittal letter, and then is permitted to submit the application. Once the application is submitted, all applicants in Categories #1A, 1B and 2 will meet with SACOG staff and peer reviewers to ensure the scope of work, budget and timeline meet program requirements.
11. How do I find out more information?
Contact SACOG Community Design Program Coordinator, Greg Chew at (916) 340-6227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.