Transportation decarbonization

Resources to help applicants, grantees, and contractors plan and implement a PCEF Community Responsive Grant project that includes transportation decarbonization.

Grant application resources

The following information is intended to provide help to applicants and grantees in developing their projects and provide guidance in requesting appropriate funding for proposals.

Transportation decarbonization

This funding area includes projects that support transportation electrification, and those that support mode shifting to biking, walking, and transit throughout the community. All transportation decarbonization projects must reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG).

Funding allocations

Grant funds can be used to pay for staff time, contracted work, purchase of equipment, materials and supplies, costs associated with fulfilling program requirements (e.g., additional insurance, reporting), and other items needed to complete the project.

Total expected funding: $10 - $20 million

  • Large grant cap: $4 million
  • Small grant cap: $500,000

Types of grants

There are two types of grants: planning grants and implementation grants. Below, we describe these in context of transportation decarbonization.

Planning grants. These grants support organizations in conducting assessments or planning needed to develop a full project proposal. Planning grants cannot be used for costs associated with project implementation activities. Receiving a planning grant does not guarantee future project funding.

  • Transportation decarbonization planning grants should clearly describe the pathway to emissions reductions that the planning activities envision.
  • Eligible activities may include research and learning, feasibility/technical evaluation and consultation, community outreach and education, and collaboration and partnership building.

Implementation grants. These grants can be used for projects that that address climate change and advance racial and social justice.

  • Eligible activities may include projects that support transportation electrification and those that support mode shifting to active transportation.

Uses of funds

The following describes how PCEF dollars can and cannot be used, and what applicants should know when it comes to PCEF funding. This is not a complete list of funding uses or requirements. Please see Uses of Funds in the RFP 3 guide for additional information.

Ineligible expenses

  • EV purchases that benefit individual private owners. See the Climate Investment Plan strategic plan 13 for EV financing information.
  • Vehicles or fueling infrastructure utilizing carbon-based fuels. This includes biodiesel, renewable diesel, diesel, gasoline, natural gas, compressed natural gas, liquified natural gas, biogas, and other similar fuels.

Limitations on expenses and guidance on project types

  • For projects purchasing or providing incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) intended to support for-profit entities, there is a 75% cost share required. Grant funds cannot be used for more than 25% of the vehicle purchase price.
    • The only exception to this cost-share requirement is for specialized EVs that are used to help businesses engage in climate-related work, such as an electric watering truck for tree maintenance.
  • Strategic programs 6 and 7 efforts cannot be duplicated in Community Responsive Grant projects. Projects that support or are additive to SP 6 or SP 7 will be considered for funding if they provide context for how their project complements, builds on, or develops valuable lessons for those strategic programs.
  • Projects in the Right-Of-Way (ROW). Some transportation decarbonization projects that impact the public ROW must be permitted, installed, and/or delivered by Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Prior to proposing a transportation decarbonization project impacting the ROW, it is important you understand the necessary permitting and regulations. In some instances, there may be prescriptive processes for implementing the ROW project, such as installing bike racks on the sidewalk. You are allowed propose a ROW project where there is a defined or prescriptive process. However, for ROW transportation decarbonization projects outside a defined or prescriptive process, there is a separate process described in theInformation on non-prescriptive improvements in the public ROW through PBOT” section belowfor non-prescriptive ROW projects where applicants can recommend complimentary ROW improvements. If you are exploring a transportation decarbonization project that includes working in the ROW and you have questions, please contact us.
  • Planning grants for Right-Of-Way (ROW) projects.Applicants may use planning grant funds for community education, engagement or design efforts for transportation decarbonization measures in the right-of way ROW only if the proposal clearly outlines engagement with PBOT. This is necessary to ensure potential planning efforts result in viable projects.

Information on non-prescriptive improvements in the public ROW through PBOT

PCEF is allocating at least $14 million over five years for non-prescriptive ROW improvements to be delivered by PBOT. These funds are intended to support mode shift and safety improvements that advance our climate and equity goals and may include bike infrastructure, pedestrian safety, and traffic improvements that promote the shift to biking, walking and transit throughout the community.

  • PCEF grant applicants may request non-prescriptive ROW improvements that are complementary to or supportive of their project. The overall project should not be dependent on funding of the non-prescriptive ROW improvements. The non-prescriptive ROW improvements will be separately considered for funding in a PCEF and PBOT coordinated process.
  • The budget for non-prescriptive ROW improvements should not be a part of an applicant’s grant request as those ROW improvements will be supported by PCEF’s suballocation of funds for PBOT.

Examples of ROW eligible and ineligible requests

  • Eligible project example: A nonprofit applies for a Community Responsive Grant to create a bike bus program at their local school. The project would benefit from improvements to make two traffic crossing intersections safer, though the program could still be implemented without those improvements. PCEF funding could be requested to pay for expenses directly related to the bike bus program, e.g., staff time. The planning, design, and implementation for the intersection improvements is not eligible for PCEF Community Responsive Grant Program funding but would be eligible for funding and implementation by PBOT’s Small Active Transportation Capital Investment Program in collaboration with the nonprofit.
  • NOT eligible project example. A nonprofit applies for a Community Responsive Grant to conduct education and outreach to promote biking because of challenges with safe biking infrastructure in an area. They are proposing a half mile of new bike lanes in the area as the primary element of their grant, with their education efforts contingent on the construction and use of that infrastructure. The scope and scale of this proposal is primarily a public improvement project. A planning grant focused on these efforts, however, would be eligible so long as the applicant commits to working with PBOT in the process.