Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Area MPO to Discuss Next Rounds of Federal Funding Today

The Salem-area Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today at noon. On the agenda is discussion of the next Federal transportation legislation and the start of planning for allocating the local share of Federal funds for the 2015-2020 cycle.

MAP-21 roadmap
Image from LAB
and discussion at Advocacy Advance
From the agenda:
A position paper developed by ODOT, the Association of Counties (AOC), and the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) regarding reauthorization of the federal surface act (MAP-21), which expires at the end of federal fiscal year 2014, is attached. It includes recommendations for both policies and funding levels. Travis Brouwer (ODOT) will review the document.

(Note: It is explained on page 5 that without additional resources for the Highway Trust Fund, surface transportation funding could be cut by about 30 percent.)

This document was presented to the Oregon Metropolitan Planning Organizations Consortium (OMPOC) members (including Cathy Clark and Bob Krebs) at their meeting in August. Each MPO in Oregon has been asked to review the document and give instructions to their OMPOC representatives, who will be meeting in Portland on October 25, 2013, to provide a formal recommendation of the paper (with changes, as needed). [bold italics added]
Will try to get a copy of the letter to see how much the groups are advocating for improved funding for completer streets and non-auto travel.

(For more on MAP-21 here in Oregon, see BikePortland here and here, and ODOT here.)

Also in preparation for the next Transportation Improvement Program (TIP),
SKATS staff and the Technical Advisory have been working on tasks for updating the TIP. The next TIP will cover the federal fiscal years 2015 to 2020. The work done to date is described in the attached memorandum including:

1. Accounting and starting balances of STP-U funds
2. Forecasts of future revenues
3. Available funds for the next TIP
4. The new Project Application Form
5. Mapping of past, present, and future projects in a Geo-Database
6. Schedule for updating the FY 2015-FY 2020 TIP

Project applications for STP-U and TAP-U funds are due November 14, 2013, followed by ODOT review of the project cost estimates and TAC review of the projects in December and January. The Policy Committee will get a presentation of the projects in January or February.[italics added]
Projects have to be formally in the TIP in order to get the Federal funding.  Hopefully the City of Salem has some projects from Bike and Walk Salem in the queue for the November 14th deadline! Stay tuned for more on that.

Find your City Councilor and ask them to make sure there are plenty of tier 1 bike/walk projects in both the $8m bond surplus and the 2015-2020 TIP!  Or you can email the whole Council here.

The Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study meets in their offices above La Capitale at noon.  They're located at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200.

Update Saturday, the 28th

Here are some relevant excerpts from the draft document:
Diversify the Highway Trust Fund’s revenues and explore replacements for the gas tax: With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient, the gas tax will no longer be a sustainable funding source for transportation. Congress will need to look beyond the fuels tax to diversify and broaden the revenue available for transportation and start the process of transitioning to a replacement for the gas tax, such as a per-mile road use charge....

Focus resources on preserving and rebuilding the existing system: The federal government should adopt a “fix it first” policy and serve as a strong partner in helping states and local governments preserve and rebuild critical transportation assets.

Invest in multimodal solutions to the challenges of freight mobility: To ensure economic vitality, Congress should dedicate funding for freight, providing for strategic investments based on the policy framework created in MAP-21.

Improve public transportation: High gas prices, an aging population, high levels of congestion, and growing concern over global climate change require greater federal investment in all forms of public transportation.

Restore active transportation funding: Congress should reverse the deep cuts MAP-21 made to bicycle and pedestrian programs that help reduce demand on overburdened roads, encourage healthy lifestyles, and reduce emissions....
This is totally reasonable and encouraging!

(But yet it's consistently interesting how the actually funded decisions at the State and local level never quite seem to match abstract policy language like this.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with language in draft letter "Oregon’s Priorities for Reauthorization of MAP-21"