Earlier this month, our Board voted to give the money to the project, despite approving a much smaller amount for it in July. The project was originally delayed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) because of some issues with the process of acquiring right-of-way to widen the roadway in some places. Since then though, steps were taken to mitigate the issues and the FHWA signed off, saying the project was in the position to move forward now.
Not all SRTC Board members agreed that this project was the right place to spend federal funds and there was extensive discussion around it at the past two Board meetings. The good news is that the hard discussions ARE happening, where as in the past, sometimes that didn’t always happen. Another thing that came out of the discussion was that we haven’t dealt with this particular situation before and a policy needs to be developed so there is a process in case it happens again in the future.
Anyway, that’s a little background, now here’s the article. Also, this decision to give federal funds is why we are asking to amend the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that you will see mentioned two posts below. Any time federal funds are dedicated to a local project, it must be reflected in the TIP, which is the reason for the amendment.