Friday, February 1, 2019

Under the SRC this $15 Million Solicitation Gets Hoovered up

You might recall last month that our local Metropolitan Planning Organization was going to announce a solicitation for projects to fund. Now, it is out:
Salem Keizer Area Transportation Study (SKATS) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is soliciting for sponsors of transportation projects within the SKATS MPO boundary to apply for federal funds for the federal fiscal year (FY) 2021-2026 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). There will be approximately $15 million in federal funds available for new projects in FY 2022, 2023 and 2024 and an additional $11 million available for projects ready for contract in the FY 2025-2026 illustrative years; although, it is up to the Policy Committee’s discretion to program funds for those years. Projects eligible for funding must be within the SKATS MPO boundary and be included in, or consistent with, the 2015-2035 Regional Transportation Systems Plan (RTSP) or the 2019-2043 RTSP (when it is adopted). Applicants must be a tax-funded public agency that can enter into a contract with ODOT, with some restrictions, to be eligible to receive funding. A minimum 10.27 percent match is required. Private entities or non-profit organizations may apply as co-applicants in partnership with a public agency.
Something to consider is that if we were to commit to the Salem River Crossing, these funds would get sucked up into the SRC and would no longer be free for other useful and important projects. Oh, the MPO might make a Potemkin show of a solicitation, but the SRC would hoover up most everything.

An important opportunity cost of the SRC would be for years to nullify project solicitations like this.

STBGP-U, TA-U, CMAQ are important sources of funding
for walking and biking projects
Here's a list of previous projects funded by the predecessors of  STBGP-U and TA-U (we only just started getting CMAQ funding).

Historical list of area STP-U and TAP-U funds.
STBGP-U and TA-U are the successors.
These sources already funded chunks of the SRC Environmental Impact Statement, so they were already supporting the SRC and they would do more.

detail with highlighting added
But these sources also have funded parts of the Union Street RR Bridge Path system as well as the new light and crossing at Commercial, part of the Minto Bridge path system, part of new Brown Road sidewalks and bike lanes, and for Cherriots new bus shelters and part of the Keizer Transit Station.

detail with highlighting added
Together, these three programs are an important pot of funding for non-auto mobility.

The MPO has discretion, and if we move forward with the SRC, they will exercise that discretion to prioritize SRC-related projects at the expense of other projects.

But also, if we had cancelled the SRC earlier, they funds might have gone to more sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes! There's $4 million in this spreadsheet that went to the SRC process.

The pre-application deadline is March 26th.

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