Well, as some of you may be following, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has published its draft of the next State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).
For those of you who don’t know, the STIP is essentially a checkbook for how TDOT plans on spending all of the State and Federal money that they have over the next 5 years. It rolls all 11 Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Improvement Plans (TIP’s) plus whatever TDOT is doing outside the MPO areas all into one big document.
As with any big document like this, it can raise more questions than it answers. One of those questions is how much money will the Transportation Alternatives (TA) grant program will get this following year. I posed this question to Mr. Neil Hansen of the TDOT Local Programs Office and here is his response:
“The exact amount of TAP funding is not yet available but I would assume that the state would receive approximately 10% more than last years allocation. My gut feeling is that somewhere between $8.25-8.75M will be available between <5K population areas, 5K-200K population areas and the ‘any area of the state’ suballocations.
That being said, please bear in mind that the Transportation Alternatives Office is still paying back the massive 2010 rescission, which will amount to a $5.4M reduction off the top of the funds suballocated for use anywhere in the state.
Thus, this is my best ‘guesstimate’ of the funding breakdown to be administered through the statewide completion as of now:
Any area of state TAP funding: $9.0 less $5.4M rescission payment = $3.6M
5K-200K population funding: $1.9M
<5K population funding: $3.2M
This would represent a total of approximately $8.7M for the 2014 TA Program, less any pending across-the-board rescissions, which will surely hit us at some point.
As far as the City of Memphis is concerned, I would estimate that they will have approximately $1.27M to distribute within their MPO boundary. Bear in mind that the Department is prepared to accept applications from all entities within the ‘Big 4’ MPO/TPO planning areas this year as well, so the competition will be fierce. In addition, I know of some municipalities that will be seeking multi-million dollar awards that could deplete the entire balance of available funding with just one or two potential awards.”
Now, like Neil said, this is his best guess. I am not holding him to it, and I don’t think that you should either. There are a lot of forces at play that are out of his control. Evidently there are several conservative political groups and politicians that want to do away with all TA grant funding. I just wanted to get this information out to everyone in the Local Programs world so that you can have some sort of information to plan from.
The next round of TA grants are due November 1, 2013. If you are going to throw your hat in the ring, now would be the time.