Friday, December 16, 2011

Minto Path Misses Cut for Flex Funds; Brown Road and Cherriots Advance

Today the Department of Transportation released the list of "Flexible Funds" projects advancing to the next round of evaluation, and the Minto Path application failed to move on.

You'll recall the vigorous debate over applying for "flex fund" dollars to finance the Minto trail.

City staff haven't got feedback from ODOT yet, but it seems likely that since the project didn't complete the triangle linking homes and jobs and retail, it was clear to others also that this was a recreation project rather than a transportation project, and not a good fit with the program criteria.

Last week Council authorized a back-up, the City applying for a Federal Highway Administration Transportation Community and System Preservation Program grant.

Other area projects that did make the cut for round 2 are a County one for Brown Road and two from Cherriots, one for Courthouse Square, the other for bus stops.

One of the problems with the Minto Path project was advocates learned about it too late to be able to offer meaningful comment and criticism that might have yielded a useful course-correction. It is unfortunate that the City of Salem for two rounds now will have no projects funded by the Flex Fund program ($42M total so far).

The Vision 2020 Bike/Ped Workgroup will be discussing grant funding, project selection, and lead-times the first week of January. Hopefully the City will see the advantage to longer lead-times and more conversation and debate with a view towards advancing visionary and transformative transportation projects.

1 comment:

Doug's Transportation Ramblings said...

The ability to say, "We told you so," really isn't that satisfying. The Minto Bridge/Path project is a great one. However, it is apparent that the city saw that free money was available and ignored the grant criteria. Hopefully, the city will find a suitable source of money for the Minto project and, in the future, pay attention to the objectives and criteria of the grants for which they are applying. There is way too much that needs to be done to be squandering these kinds of opportunities.