When considering how to use STP funds there are several things to keep in mind:
- What projects are they best suited for?
- How quickly can we get the funds obligated? (The sooner the better in case Congress decides to rescind the funds)
- How do these STP funds help out your bigger transporation budget?
Here is a scenario that I have seen come up a couple of times. A city has a big project that they want to use their STP funds on. However it will be a year, if not more before they will be in a postion to obligate the funds since it is a bigger project (with extensive ROW perhaps).
So here are the questions. Do you continue on with the bigger project, counting on those STP funds to be there in 1-2 years from now? Or, do you consider using your STP funds to complete a series of resurfacing projects, simple traffic signals, or something else that can be completed in a year or less?
These are the questions cities with STP funds have to wrangle with. My thought is to spend (meaning get obligated) STP funds on something you can get completed quickly. That way your funds are off the table. Pick some smaller projects that local funds were going to be spent on anyway. This way you can use this local money that you saved on those project with your bigger project latter on.
The main intention of this post is to have you consider the use of STP funds in a larger more stratigic way. That way they can be used in the most efficient and effective way.