Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bike and Walk Salem Delay May Limit Funding Opportunities

The announcement for the funding process under the new federal transportation bill is out. Oregon Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager Sheila Lyons writes about the changes and urges local multi-modal transportation planners to apply statewide with lots of quality bike/ped projects:
Note that ALL PROJECT TYPES are eligible. That includes bike and ped projects, as well as project types eligible under the revised MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives category (formerly TE.)

Explanation/Information  There are many things in flux, many balls in the air and many processes that are being revised, all in support of ODOT's new Intermodal direction. I'll try to explain in broad brush strokes to help you sort it out.

  • The new "Enhance It" project selection process will determine the ODOT capital program (called the STIP) for federal fiscal years 2015 thru 2018.
  • This process will award FEDERAL dollars. Remember the "Modernization", "Bridge" and other like programs. Those are gone now, replaced by Fix It/Enhance It
  • We're sending you this e-mail to encourage you to submit your TE-OBPAC NOI [notice of intent] project to the Enhance It program.
  • If you have a TE-OBPAC NOI that advanced to "stage 2" you can still submit the same project to the Enhance It program. The Enhance It program will make project selections BEFORE TE-OBPAC. If you don't succeed in Enhance It, you'll still be in the running in TE-OBPAC.
  • Don't limit yourself - this solicitation will set the ODOT capital program for 4 years. Submit as many projects as allowed.
  • The projects will be selected by your local Area Commission on Transportation or JPAC (Portland/Metro). (There are a few locations not covered by ACTs)...
My 2-Cents The Oregon Transportation Commission and Director's Office are working hard to reorient ODOT's business model to be Intermodal. They have stressed that the best solution for the problem is on the table, EVEN if that solution is for biking and walking facilities. THE TIME IS NOW to put this to the test. I suggest you submit as many bike/ped projects from your Transportation System Plan or Bike and Ped Plan as the Enhance It process allows. Even if you are not successful, by submitting bike and ped needs to this process you'll be helping to inform ODOT, ACTs and local decision makers about our needs. DON'T be modest. The TE-OBPAC programs are typically over subscribed 7-9:1, so we know there is a lot of need out there. Let's demonstrate that need by flooding this application process with bike/ped applications...
[So] sharpen your pencils and get to work.

Our time is NOW!
But not necessarily Salem's.

Because Bike and Walk Salem has not yet been adopted, it is likely that Salem will be limited to the "same-ol-same-ol" list of projects from the current TSP. Innovation is contained in Bike and Walk Salem, but not so much in the 1996 TSP chapters, and, for example, developing key family friendly bikeways from these funds may not be possible.

Look also at the dates - 2015 to 2018 (full timeline here).  Our difficulty finishing the process today will have repercussions for the next five or six years.

The long lead times for funding sources may not be adequately considered by those who are ok with the very slow adoption process so far. Consider emailing and let Councilors know that Salem is potentially losing out on important funding sources for safe, comfortable, and connected biking and walking facilities.


Anonymous said...

I was at an ODOT Region 1 meeting on this funding stream yesterday. A question was asked about whether projects identified in a plan that was close to but not yet adopted could be submitted. The response from that region coordinator was yes. So, I would suggest affirming that with Terry Cole, Region 2 STIP Representative( or 503.986.2674)and then getting to work on submitting the high priority projects in partnership with the City of Salem (a requirement). The earliest work could begin on projects would be October 1, 2015, with construction in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the tip!

The City has indicated informally and in a preliminary way that right now they envision applying for the Minto Path & Bridge project and for continuing the Brown Road project. But at present no more.

So there's work to do!