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TPC delays vote on TIP

Houston Tomorrow:

The Houston-Galveston Area Council’sTransportation Policy Council (TPC) unanimously voted on Friday morning to delay by thirty days its vote on a full $79.8 million allocation of unprogrammed federal transportation funds toward Mobility – roadway and freight rail – projects and a reallocation of $12.8 million from already committed pedestrian, bicycle, and Livable Centers projects to Mobility projects.

The 30-day delay will allow the public and elected officials to further explore how potential money from the federal Surface Transportation Program Major Metro (STP MM) and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) funds should be allocated within the Houston-Galveston region’s2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The decision came after elected officials heard from more than 20 business, bicycle, pedestrian, and political advocates in attendance, plus thousands of citizens who signed petitions and called officials’ offices during the week to voice their concerns regarding the manner in which federal funds were being distributed toward various transportation modes.

Rather than push a vote through, City of Houston Council member Sue Lovell requested that the TPC delay voting on the issue for 30 days so that elected officials could more carefully examine the options on the table and hear from their constituents.

See here and here for some background. Houston Tomorrow has an online petition that calls for roadway spending to make up no more than 55% of regional transportation infrastructure spending, which it says in accordance with the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. I don’t know enough about the 2035 RTP to comment on that, but I am glad there will be more time to discuss this issue. A press release from CM Lovell about the requested delay to the vote is beneath the fold.

Council Member Sue Lovell succeeded in delaying the loss of $12.8 million in federal funding for alternative modes of transportation to the City of Houston and the Houston-Galveston region at the February 25 meeting of the Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council (TPC).

The proposal put forth would have taken all of the funding from alternative modes that would improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, transit access, and Livable Centers in favor of road and freight rail spending.

She also asked for a workshop concerning this issue before the next TPC meeting on March 25.

Council Member Lovell canceled her attendance at a national meeting in Washington, D.C., to stay in Houston and deal with this critical issue vital to the City of Houston and the region.

Although Council Member Lovell made the motion, she wants to thank fellow Council Members Melissa Noriega and Wanda Adams, METRO President and CEO George Greanias, and City of Houston Public Works & Engineering Director Dan Krueger and their staffs for their work on this issue. Council Member Lovell’s motion was passed unanimously by the TPC.

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