Recently a letter was sent out to from the TDOT Local Programs Office stating that cities that receive STP funds have till September 2013 to use these funds. Cities with funds in their respective TIP’s have until the new TIP comes out in 2014 to use the funding there.
I want to focus on what this really means.
So, can you wait until the summer of 2013 and call up to the TDOT Local Programs Office and ask “…hey, we would like to get a project going, that’s ok right?”. The answer is no, not really. There are several reason for this:
- Projects can only have their funds obligated by phase. You can only fund the PE NEPA phase initially. You can’t fund the PE Design phase until you have an approved NEPA document. You can’t get the funds obligated for the ROW phase until the design plans are approved. And finally you can’t get the funding for Construction obligated until all of those things and more are completed.
- The Construction funding is the big percentage of the project cost. And as mentioned above, it is the last thing to get obligated.
- The final reason that you can’t wait till just before funding “sunsets” is that it can take as long as a year, to well beyond a year to get a project from initiation to Construction. Right now it is January, if communities get on the ball within the next month on getting projects going, and really push them, they might be able to have some simple (resurfacing, projects with no ROW, ect) project under construction before it gets cold again. Projects that are more complicated take more time than a year.
The point of this is that these things take time. The sooner you start at the front end, the sooner you will get your funding obligated, and project under construction. You do not want to have your back against the wall with funding deadlines.