Friday, October 28, 2011
Funding for Lee County MPO transportation projects in FDOT’s 5-year work plan
Report by Darla Letourneau: 10/28/11
Background: In June of each year, the Lee MPO submits its 5-year list of priority projects to FDOT for consideration. FDOT reviews the list against available resources and decides what projects to fund. In October of each year, the "FDOT draft work plan" is presented to the MPO for approval. Finally, in December, the FDOT work plan is finalized by FDOT and it becomes the funding plan. Of course, as funding shortfalls occur or additional funds become available, FDOT revises this work plan.
BikeWalkLee reviewed the FDOT draft plan 2012-17and made comments about the plan at MPO committee and board meetings in October. The work plan was approved by the MPO Board on 10/28/11. The following are highlights of BikeWalkLee’s analysis and comments:
For the MPO’s 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan ( LRTP) and policy priorities by the Board to be meaningful, they need to track the results and keep policymakers informed as to how these decisions fit into that big picture framework vs. just reviewing a list of projects.
• What is split by mode share and how does that compare to last yr?
• How are we implementing the goal of making road improvements first before creating new road capacity?
• How does FDOT plan compare to the MPO Board’s June 2011 priority request?
• Did FDOT support the priorities the Board established?
• How does the mix of types of projects change from what the Board requested?
BikeWalkLee’s analysis shows that:
• Overall, we’re moving in right direction, consistent with LRTP goals and with MPO priorities.
• There is a major increase in transit in this 5-year plan—mode share to transit jumped from 11% to 20%--which is consistent with the LRTP. The recent LeeTran federal competitive grant award of $13.9 M further adds to the increased investment in transit in our community.
• With respect to road improvement vs. increased capacity, our analysis shows that split is 22% improvement and 73% increased capacity, which is a better split than in the MPO’s June request (15/85).
• As a share of the total transportation dollars to the Lee MPO, bike/ped has increased from 2% to 3%.—up 1/3 over last year.
Bike/Ped Projects in 5-Year Plan
FDOT District 1 (thank you, Trinity Scott) again prepared special tables that allow us to easily see what’s in the work plan for bike/ped.
Click here to see the tables.
• There are 24 bike/ped stand-alone projects in the 5-year plan, 5 more than last year, totaling $11.3 million (up slightly from $11.2 M last year.
• The list of bike/ped priority projects submitted the MPO in June was funded—with exception of 2 regional enhancement requests--10-Mile Linear phase V, and the complete streets demonstration project in Fort Myers. Hopefully, they’ll be considered next year.
• On projects where a portion of road project will benefit bike/ped –there are 26 road projects totaling $91.8 million that include bike/ped facilities. Of these, 4 safety projects, totaling $4.1 Million, (using federal highway safety funds (HSIP)), should help improve safety for bike/ped/transit users.
Action Needed by LeeDOT and Local Jurisdictions:
At the various MPO committee meetings, FDOT officials stated that there is still $6.5 million in the “pot” for potential bike/ped, congestion management type projects and that there are no more projects in the queue. They urged local jurisdictions to get busy now and submit projects for the list. With the new countywide bike/ped master plan there is a priority list of needs. It’s critical that each jurisdiction take that list and start submitting projects to be funded!
On October 28th, the MPO issued instructions for these grant applications, which are due by Dec. 2nd. Click here for the instructions.
While the FDOT draft work plan was good news for Lee County, FDOT warned the county that new revenue shortfalls have been estimated and that there are insufficient funds for this work plan. In December, a revised draft work plan reflecting a cut in funds will be submitted to the MPO. Stay tuned!