Thursday, February 11, 2010

CARS grant update

There has been some misunderstanding lately related to the CARS grant. Federal funding is delayed with no expected date set on new funding. It did not receive the original 100% funding from the 2009 Stimulus Package because it was delayed with ALDOT. Note that BASC did not find out about this grant until 3 days before it was due last year. It was delayed with ALDOT because it is the first non-construction project that they have dealt with. By the time it was processed, the original $15mil sent to ALDOT with the stimulus package was used. Because of this, the city had to wait to Oct/Nov 2009 for the city council to approve the 20% in the budget for the 80/20 money because that is when the council does the budget.

Now that money for ALDOT from the feds that would have funded the 80/20 projects has been rescinded, and this includes other non-cycling-related projects that city was hoping to start soon. After the city approval, it had to go back through ALDOT and FHWA for that round of projects. Like ALDOT, FHWA has certain regulations for dealing with projects, and this non-construction grant was not easily processed within that framework of construction projects. The feds currently have the work plan and expect to approve it fairly soon. After that, it will be sent back to ALDOT for more paperwork, and after an account is created, the bidding process can begin. They expect to make more efficient guidelines for dealing with future non-construction projects. FHWA will start to do this at the next division review. So basically the inherent inefficiency of bureaucracy and the lack of regulations/guidelines specifically for non-construction projects is why it was slowed. Because ALDOT's money was rescinded by the feds, ALDOT and Alabama MPOs have had their budgets messed up. New federal money is not expected before this summer. Funding for the CARS grant is contingent upon the delayed transportation bill:

Livable Streets link

some more info on transportation bill delays

PDF cover letter on House website where more info can be found

other states have been delayed with it:

problems in Michigan


inc123 said...

So the rumor that either BASC or city workers failed to turn in the proposal by the designated deadline is completely false? And the funding issues have absolutely nothing to do with any missed deadlines on a local level? So this is really an economic issue combined with non-local red tape?

clintpatty said...

Yeah the missed deadlines was a rumor.

I think there was some confusion about the use of the word lost. The money is lost in the sense that there is no federal money for new projects right now that was promised since it was rescinded. So any particular expected money soon has been lost along with all the other money for this state and city to start new projects. The work plan is expected to be approved soon at FHWA. When it is, the grant will be awarded when the money is available. It is my understanding from the links that it cannot be after fall of this year. So possibly the city could have the money now if they did not have to wait on budgeting (which I guess would only work if there were donations), but it was November before the budget was approved. I do not know the date. But according to the posted minutes on the website, the work plan was at ALDOT by the first week of December. So that's not much delay and especially not much relative delay with the city.

Tyler said...

regardless of reason we should have known it was to good to be true. We are totally fucked here.

Leela the Kid said...

thanks for explaining it clint. at least now we know what the problem was