Monday, April 02, 2007

Smart Growth America Alert: "Threats to Transportation Enhancements"

Thought I would pass this information on to you from the folks at Smart Growth America. This is vital information that may have an enormous impact on projects in our region.

Smart Growth America


We received news about a potentially alarming development in the world of federal transportation funding. The National Center for Bicycling and Walking and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy sent us notices about a rescission order given by the Federal Highway Administration that could jeopardize the federal money that funds crucial programs for trails, bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, bridge repair, congestion mitigation, CMAQ, and other progressive transportation programs.

On March 19, the Federal Highway Administration sent a notice to state DOTs to let them know that they have to return a combined total of $3.472 billion to the federal government. Here's where it gets sticky: State DOTs can take the money from nearly any program that has unobligated balances. In the past many states have looked to Transportation Enhancements (TE), bike trails, and pedestrian programs for the millions they have to give back. A similar rescission order was given last year and Texas chose to cut the entire TE budget, stating that it was a low priority.

From the date of the actual order (March 19), Governors will have 30 days to decide how to make the cuts from their transportation budgets, which range from $14 million in Delaware to $315 million in California.

Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's TE alert page where you can find more information about what can be done to ensure TE programs aren't first on the chopping block.

Other resources

Smart Growth America