Transportation board invites comments on federal funding applications

Posted In: Transportation
Date: 9/23/2019

The Metropolitan Council and the Transportation Advisory Board are asking for your comments on the Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program applications, which the board released for public comment in September. We will accept comments through Nov. 6.

The Regional Solicitation is one way the board and Council prioritize and invest in roads, bridges and transit, as well as biking and walking needs. Whether for existing infrastructure or new improvements, projects focus on outcomes like moving more people more effectively, managing congestion, and improving air quality.

Vehicles on a two-lane road next to a sidewalk.The board and Council are accepting comments on the applications and instructions for the Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program, which you’ll find on the Regional Solicitation page. Through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, you can:

  • Email public.info@metc.state.mn.us

  • Record a message at 651-602-1500 (TTY 651-221-9886)

  • Mail comments to 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-1805

In February 2020, the board and Council will invite local government agencies and their partners to apply for funds to make improvements broadly on roadways, transit, and bikeways and walkways. The specific categories are outlined in the visual at the bottom of the page.

The board began reviewing and revising the applications for the upcoming solicitation after the previous awards were approved by the Council in February 2019.

 

Council, board work collaboratively to design application criteria

“With each solicitation, we’re considering many inputs into our funding decision, and with that we recognize the shifting priorities in our transportation system,” said Council Member Deb Barber, who represents the Council on the board. “The board takes these ideas and works collaboratively, making compromises to create a program that best serves the region.”

As part of that review, a policy workgroup focused on a few key decisions that would impact the categories, the funding distribution, and minimum and maximum awards.

Over the course of three months and seven meetings, the workgroup considered:

  • Maximum funding awards
  • Study findings that measured outcomes from previous Regional Solicitation projects
  • Technology, travel demand management, and unique projects
  • Equity
  • Geographic balance
  • New “spot mobility and safety” category
  • Approach to transit that included a special funding category for arterial bus rapid transit

In that review, the workgroup recommended redistributing the funding between the roadways, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian categories, increasing funding for transit and reducing it in the other two categories. The board approved the change, emphasizing they would like to hear the public’s thoughts on that change.

“During this round, we heard that more complete funding for bus rapid transit is desirable,” said Barber. “We dedicated one policy meeting to that topic and came to a decision to dedicate funding for one rapid transit line. That’s just one of the decisions where the public can give us their feedback.”

The Transportation Advisory Board reviewed and incorporated the feedback from the workgroup and those changes are reflected in the applications and instructions for the Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program, which you’ll find on the Regional Solicitation page.

Staff will review public comments and evaluate changes for final adoption by the Transportation Advisory Board on November 20, 2019, in preparation for releasing the formal 2020 Regional Solicitation in February 2020.

Posted In: Transportation

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