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Today’s the day for the TIP

That postponed Transportation Policy Council meeting to determine how to allocate unprogrammed federal transportation funds happens today.

A proposal before the regional Transportation Policy Council last month could have clawed back $12.8 million in funding set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects and directed those dollars to road and freight rail work. At the urging of advocacy groups, the proposal was tabled to allow for more discussion.

The TPC — an appointed body of mostly elected officials that directs federal transportation funding in the eight-county region — will take up the issue at its meeting Friday.

“I’m hoping we can reach a compromise to where all of the (bike and pedestrian) funding is not lost, yet certainly understanding the need for roadway and rail funding,” said Houston City Councilwoman Sue Lovell, a TPC member.

[…]

In its 2011-14 transportation plan, the council has direct discretion over just $346 million in federal funds, $266 million of which already is allocated.

Some TPC members have proposed setting percentage guidelines on how the remaining $80 million should be spent: 1 percent on planning studies, 9 percent to 13 percent for alternative modes such as biking, walking and mass transit, and for air-quality projects, and the remaining 75 percent to 82 percent on roads and rail.

“I think there are going to be a lot of people in the broader community who aren’t in a particular interest group who say, ‘Wait a minute, of course, we ought to be giving 80 percent of mobility funds to actual mobility projects,’ as opposed to sidewalks or hike-and-bike trails,” [Harris County Judge Ed] Emmett said.

[…]

Advocacy group Houston Tomorrow has suggested spending 55 percent of the funds on roads and rail, and 34 percent on alternative modes.

They lay out their case here, with David Crossley adding more here. The meeting is this morning at the TPC’s office at 3555 Timmons, 2nd floor, room A. It’s open to the public, and the public comment period begins at 9:30, though there will be a TPC workshop beginning at 8:45 that you can also attend but not participate in. I look forward to seeing what happens.

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One Comment

  1. Ben Bryant says:

    I think it’s ridiculous than an elected official thinks that sidewalks and “hike and bike trails” are not legitimate mobility projects or needs! Ridiculous that someone elected to serve has that type of attitude and arrogance. I wonder if he were legally blind if he would think of sidewalks as NON MOBILITY projects? This brings me to my issues with Toll Road Authorities and the absolute waste that’s involved with these entities because our state and local governments can’t manage budgets and plan accordingly. Our elected officials then turn to toll roads and Toll Road Authorities, who have salaries and layers of management who profit from the dollars we as residents are forced to pay for their survival and inflated overhead versus paying and managing tax dollars to fund the construction of roadways. What a racket, and it makes the common residents wonder WHY our elected officials are so protective of and supportive of Toll Road Authotities! It should be considered criminal that we shift from taxes to inflated fees and rates to support these organizations and their slalries as a hidden way of increasing our financial burdens as residents!