Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ODOT Announces "Enhance it" Federal Funding Cycle for 2018-21

The Department of Transportation send out news this week about the timeline and instructions for an important Federal funding cycle of 2018-2021.

Sheila Lyons, our statewide Bike/Ped Program Manager, notes that
This is for the next round of ODOT’s STIP capital funding. Similar to last time, with tweaks. Note that pedestrian and bicycle projects are STILL ELIGIBLE projects. TAP, OBPAC Grants, Safe Routes to School, Scenic Byway funds have all migrated to this process.
I think this is the most meaningful chunk of funding for bike/ped projects and many of the programs that have been separated out are now brought together in one process. At least in theory this will better coordinate and leverage efforts that had been perhaps more fragmented.

So if you wanted an additional positive note for your City Councilor as they consider "Council Goals," asking the City of Salem to compile a robust slate of strong applications for this funding would be a good ask!

Push the City for quality and quantity!

Apps due Monday, August 3rd
(from the Review Process
Applications are due Monday, August 3rd, and the official process envisions significant consultation between local agencies and ODOT.

These applications are for Federal funds, so one interesting thing is that it looks like we have no idea actually how much money will be available, since the Highway Trust Fund is busted right now.

Evaluated for ROI and Multi-modality
(from the Application Instructions
Among the criteria for the program are "greatest benefits in relation to costs," and bike/ped infrastructure is a lot cheaper than that for cars, so at least in theory projects for people who walk and bike should be competitive.

The program also includes that projects "benefit the state's multimodal transportation system" and "make key connections between modes or facilities." So again, at least in rhetoric there is meaningful support for people who walk and bike.

Make a car-walk-bike connection along the RR line - 2nd Street
It looks, for example, like the increasing talk about underpass between the Edgewater district and Wallace Marine Park area could make a very strong proposal in this funding cycle. Additionally, we could fund a Union Street Bikeway and finally complete a full east-west corridor with the Union Street Railroad Bridge.

This will be something to watch over the spring and summer! The door looks open - will we push through it?

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