Transportation: Enhancements

The transportation enhancement program was active from 1999-2012.

In the early 1990s, Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation began promoting a more balanced transportation system as a way to improve Americans' quality of life.

One of the key elements of this community-friendly approach is transportation enhancements (TE). It authorizes states to set aside approximately 10% of their surface transportation funding for new and non-traditional activities that enhance the community benefits of transportation investments. Six of the twelve approved activities involve historic preservation, including the rehabilitation of historic bridges and roads, the reuse of older facilities like train depots, and the revitalization of historic downtown streetscapes.

In just over a decade, transportation enhancements have become the most popular of all federal-aid highway programs. TE has provided over $6.6 billion to support more than 17,000 transportation-related projects that neighborhoods and towns have wanted; more than $2 billion of that money has gone has gone to preservation. Organizations such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials praise the program's success in encouraging interaction among transportation professionals, preservationists and other civic groups.