Franklin receives over $500,000 for pedestrian infrastructure

Adults walk on sidewalk in Franklin, LA to assess the conditions for pedestrians

Franklin, La. – Until this year, rural communities in Louisiana had limited options for improving sidewalks. Thanks to recent changes in Louisiana’s Transportation Alternatives Program, Franklin has received more than $500,000 to improve local pedestrian infrastructure.

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is a federally funded program administered through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) that focuses on creating “complete streets,” which address the needs of all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and people with disabilities. This includes building safe, accessible sidewalks that connect residents to everyday destinations like schools, grocery stores, parks, and libraries.

In a state with one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the nation, this investment will help make transportation safer for residents traveling without a motor vehicle. Franklin will use TAP funding for projects including improved connectivity of sidewalk network and sidewalk wheelchair accessibility.

“Living in a rural community normally we are precluded from being able to afford the local match dollars required for projects such as the Transportation Alternative Program. Thanks to our State partners and LADOTD for the guidance through this program which made it attainable to our underserved community,” said Mayor Foulcard of the City of Franklin.

Before 2023, all communities regardless of size that received TAP funding had to contribute a 20% cash match in addition to covering Design and Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) costs, which average an additional 20% of project costs. This means that in the past, a $500,000 sidewalk project would cost $200,000, no matter the population of the town.

“With new flexibility allowed in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), our LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities team and I worked with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to make TAP a feasible funding option for rural communities,” said Jessica Stroope, LSU AgCenter physical activity specialist. “As a result, DOTD lowered the required construction match from 20% to 10% for communities 5,000-49,999 residents and will no longer charge Design and CEI costs to communities under 50,000 residents. This means that a $500,000 sidewalk project will now cost mid-sized towns closer to $50,000.”

Brian Nunes, who oversees TAP in Louisiana, made sure that the new flexibility in the law translated into real change for Louisiana communities.

“Before we made changes to the match requirements to TAP, rural communities rarely applied. The program was out of reach, and the funds were unspent. Louisiana is now using all federal funding designated for rural communities for the TAP program. The new flexibility in IIJA has allowed us to address previous equity issues and to reach our rural, distressed, low-income, and transit dependent communities.”

In October 2022, representatives from Franklin attended LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities’ Rural Complete Streets Summit. The summit matched communities with mentors, including rotations with program leaders at DOTD, to help rural communities understand and navigate the funding application process. All communities who attended the summit and submitted a TAP application received funding.

Barring any unforeseen delays, work will likely begin in the next six to twelve months. Keep your eyes peeled and walking shoes ready for improvements in 2024. For more information about LSU AgCenter’s St. Mary Parish Healthy Communities projects, please contact Jessica Randazzo at

11/6/2023 2:28:22 PM
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