Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lee MPO requests FDOT increases in local bike/ped funding

The Lee MPO submitted its funding priorities to FDOT, which included increased funding for bike/ped projects.

At the June 22nd, MPO Board meeting, BikeWalkLee's representative, Ann Pierce, spoke about the proposed funding priorities to be submitted to FDOT for consideration in their upcoming Work Plan for 2013/14-2017/18.  As part the Board's approval of the 2035 LRTP in 2010, it adopted two resolutions to provide policy direction to the staff and committees to make more progress on a balanced multi-modal transportation system.  

BikeWalkLee expressed its support for the $7.9 Million request for bike/ped projects, or 9% of the total funding request.  Last year the MPO requested $5.2 million or 5% of its budget for bike/ped, so this is an increase in actual and relative terms.  Kudos to the MPO staff, committees, and Board for their support!

·      BikeWalkLee's other comments to the Board focused on three questions: 

1.       what is the split by mode share and how does that compare to last year?
       Over the past 10 years, the MPO has put an increasing share of its resources into transit, traffic ops, and bike/ped
      •   comparing our June 2011 request to June 2012 request, its proposed that transit go from 1% to 7%; traffic ops from 25% to 30%, and bike/ped from 5% to 9%. 
      •   these trend lines are moving the county towards its goal of a balanced multi-modal transportation system.
2.       how are we implementing the goal of making road improvements first before creating new road capacity?
      •  Lee County is still focused on expanding capacity, with 99% of the road dollars this year going to widen roads vs. improve/repair existing facilities.
      • To meet the MPO's goal of "fix it first", we'd like to see this mix shift in future years.
3.       Are objective criteria being used to prioritize the projects?
      • While the prioritization of projects was not based on the merged prioritization approach which uses objective criteria, having both sets of rankings allows staff to beta-test the merged approach in anticipation of changes in the next update of the LRTP. 
  • The next step is for FDOT to come back in the Fall with its draft Work Plan.  At that point, the Lee MPO can see how that Plan compares with this June request, whether FDOT supported the county's priorities established; and whether the mix of types of projects changes from what we requested.

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