As a local government you might be curious to know when the best time to get started with a local programs project would be. The answer to your question would be right now as far as I am concerned.
Here is why:
1. If you are in a MPO area the new TIP’s will be approved soon, so in the mean time you can get your contract set up with TDOT. Once the new funding is set up you will be all ready to go.
2. If you are outside the MPO area (and gyou have till September 2013 to have the STP funds obligated. That may be plenty of time for a small simple project, but for something more involved it is best to get going so you don’t have your back against a wall.
3. It is almost winter. The resurfacing plants will be shutting down soon if they have not already, so this season is done. While it is too cold to resurface or other construction activities we can be working on the contract and all of the other steps the don’t require good weather.
4. Congress giveth, and Congress can taketh away. I have only been at TDOT a little over 4 years and I have seen two rescissions. In one Congress did give most of it back, but it sure made things difficult for a lot of people. If the funds are obligated on an active project, they are a lot more difficult to take away.
Now I don’t want to freak anyone out, and I don’t have any more inside information than anyone with C-SPAN or who watches the news has. However, it is a lot more difficult for Congress to take back your completed signal, or resurfacing project that you are driving on than it is for them to take unobligated money that is basically only on paper.
When the weather is nice in the spring and the asphalt plants are open and working everyone wants to get projects going. If you have done the front end work now, then we should be much more closer to bidding your project out, than if you wait until then.