Saturday, January 24, 2009

Latest Stimulus Update - 1.3 Billion in Transportation Enhancements

According to the January 23rd AASHTO Journal the current markup passed by the House Appropriations Committee of the includes 1.3 Billion for Transportation Enhancements (TE). This is because 45% of the 29 billion highway dollars allocated would fall under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) of which 10% of that is required by law to be spent on transportation enhancements.
$29B (HWY)x .45 (STP)= 13 x .10 (TE) = $1.3 B

Current state estimates for the program include $59M for PA and $35M for NJ. money will be available to the states 7 days after the enactment of the law. Most projects need to be under construction in 4 months (but it might amended to 6 months) and the funds need to be obligated (essentially completed) by August 2010.

Transportation Enhancements represent the bulk of the stand alone bicycle and pedestrian projects although there are several other ways to spend the funds (such as transportation museums and highway landscaping).

A formal request was made by PENNDOT for $18 Million for the Chester Valley Trail although only the segment from PA 29 to Church Road in West Whiteland can go under construction in 120 days.

Other potential "shovel ready enhancements projects in PA include:
  • Bicyclists Baltimore Pike and Old Baltimore Pike (two on-street bikeway projects)
  • Pottstown Promenade

It may also be possible to use this money to fund projects already slated to begin construction this year such as the Falls Bridge to Wissahickon section of the Schuylkill River Trail. This could put money back into the pipeline to fund to other bicycle and pedestrian projects that are not "shovel ready".

There is no doubt that the bill will be marked up many times before it becomes law, in the meantime Rep. Boehner will have plenty of more chances to take another swipe at bicycles.