Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Background
The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a grant program offered by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) that encourages local jurisdictions to plan and implement strategies that link transportation improvements with land use development strategies to create sustainable, livable communities, reducing the reliance on single-occupancy automobiles for all trips. ARC established the program in 1999, committing $1 million annually of federal transportation funds to complete land use and transportation studies. Additionally, the program dedicates $500 million to fund transportation projects identified in those studies. Through grants and technical assistance, LCI encourages local jurisdictions to implement development strategies that link residents to shopping, dining and other activities via sidewalks, bicycle facilities and transit, rather than strictly by roads.
LCI Funding Priorities & Selection Process:
A panel comprised of planning partners throughout the region, as well as ARC staff, review and rate LCI applications based on the relevance of the study to LCI and regional planning goals and priorities, as well as local commitment and completeness of the application itself. Applications selected for funding shall advance the Atlanta Region’s Plan goals and the following LCI program goals:
- Encourage a diversity of housing, employment, commercial, shopping and recreation land uses at the transit station, local and regional center level accessible by people of all ages, abilities and income levels;
- Enhance access to a range of travel modes including transit, roadways, walking and biking and increase roadway connectivity to provide optimal access to all uses within the study area; and,
- Foster public-private partnerships and sustained community support through an outreach process that promotes the involvement of all stakeholders, including those historically underserved or underrepresented.
2016 Funding Priorities
In support and recognition of U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Ladders of Opportunity” policy initiative and ARC’s Poverty Equity Opportunity Committee, LCI funds will be prioritized for areas that fall with the “high to very high” zones of ARC’s Equitable Target Areas (ETAs). Connecting people and communities to economic and educational opportunities, with safe, reliable and affordable transportation, is a key goal of the USDOT and ARC’s Board as well as its Regional Economic Development Strategy. Here are links for more information regarding these initiatives:
Additional consideration and funding priority will be granted to applications that include one or more of the following elements (in no particular order):
- Mix of uses and a density of development that support walking, biking or transit, and a jobs-housing balance
- Mixed-incomes and workforce housing
- Transit-oriented development and studies that relate to transit accessibility, and/or new transit service, including bus service (must have at least one phase funded in the short-term Transportation Improvement Program)
- Study areas with existing underutilized infrastructure, brownfield, grayfield or catalytic redevelopment sites
- Increased street connectivity, complete streets, and Travel Demand Management
- Aging in place and lifelong community concepts
- “Creative placemaking” strategies
- Historic preservation and context-sensitive infill and development
- Demonstrated commitment and ability to implement the LCI plan and create positive changes at the community level
ARC has $800,000 available for LCI studies for 2016. Funding is made possible through FHWA’s Surface Transportation Program, and therefore all studies must have a transportation nexus. At least half of the funding (minimum of $400,000) will be earmarked for existing LCI communities for plan updates and supplemental studies.
Awards are limited to $200,000 per study and all studies require a 20% local match. While applicants may apply for up to $200,000, typical budgets for new LCI studies or Major Plan Updates have ranged between $100,000 - $150,000, and Supplemental Studies between $80,000 - $100,000.
To calculate the federal and local shares, take the TOTAL project cost, then multiply by 80% (0.8), and the remainder is your local match. For example, for a study budget of $250,000, the federal share would be $200,000 and the local share $50,000.
Applications are due on December 7, 2015 by 5pm. LCI studies selected for funding will be announced by January 31, 2016. Contracts between the Sponsor and ARC should be executed by April 30, 2015. The final study deliverables are due July 31, 2017 – allowing 15 months for development and completion of the study.
Additional Information and Disclaimers:
- Organizations receiving LCI funds will be required to contract with ARC and provide assurances of meeting federal contract requirements. This includes conducting a fair and open procurement process; therefore, if a consultant completes the funding application on behalf of the sponsor, that firm will not be eligible to compete for or be awarded the LCI contract should the study be selected.
- If more than one organization is involved in the LCI study, ARC will contract with one lead organization only. Other organizations may serve as partners or sub-grantees to the lead organization, but they will not be part of the formal LCI contract.
- Completion of an LCI study does not guarantee LCI transportation project funding. Subsequent LCI funding for transportation projects or supplemental studies is contingent upon local implementation progress and LCI program funding availability.