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August 25, 2011

Re: Federal Transportation Funding Information
I.  Grants Application Webinar
II. Update on Congressional Debate on the Future of Federal Transportation Programs

Dear Mayor:

I.  Grants Application Webinar

The National League of Cities (NLC) has asked us to share information on the next TIGER grant webinar, which will focus on how to submit a superior application.  While the webinar is aimed at providing technical assistance to “rural” communities, the first webinar in this series, sponsored by NLC and other groups, contained useful information to all size communities. Even if you do not consider your municipality to be rural, it could be that, under DOT definitions, you could qualify for funding.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced a new grant opportunity for “rural” communities across the country. DOT is generally defining “rural area” as any area not in an Urbanized Area, as such term is defined by the Census Bureau. That is, any municipality with a population under 50,000 could qualify. DOT will consider a project to be in a rural area if all or a material portion of a project is located in a rural area. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program is a great opportunity for rural communities to leverage federal funds for local transportation projects. To help communities apply for these very competitive grants, the American Public Transportation Association, the National Association of Development Organizations, the National League of Cities, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, Rural Assembly, Smart Growth America, and Transportation for America have joined together to encourage rural communities to submit superior applications for this funding.

If you plan to apply for this year’s round of TIGER grants or wish to learn more about the program and the application process, you may want to consider participating in the webinar on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT. The webinar will build on the overview provided by our first webinar in this series , which took place earlier in August, by exploring, in-depth, the various aspects of the TIGER application process. 

Presenters on next week’s webinar include grant writers who have been successful in getting TIGER funds in the past, an expert in benefit-cost analysis from the funding source, and a leader in the transportation field who has years of experience getting projects both funded and completed.

What:

 

“TIGER Grants and Rural America, Part II”

When:

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Where: 

 

Webinar information will be sent to registrants

RSVP: 

 

Click here to register.

TIGER grants, as well as other grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are available to state, local, and tribal governments as well as transit agencies, regional organizations, other public agencies and multi-state or multi-jurisdictional groups. Typically some portion of grant funding is dedicated to rural America, so there is extra incentive for rural communities to apply for these grants. Here are some additional resources for those interested in more information about funding opportunities:

If you have questions about this event, please contact Garett Ballard-Rosa at gballardrosa@smartgrowthamerica.org  or 202-207-3355 x142.

II. Update on Congressional Debate on the Future of Federal Transportation Programs

An informative article on the impending Congressional debate on extension of federal transportation programs appeared in a recent Washington Post.  According to the Department of Transportation, federal construction dollars would be terminated immediately if the federal fuel tax is not extended.  By law, the federal gasoline tax is set to expire two years after the expiration of the authorization legislation.  Due to the fact that the current program expired in September 2009, and has only been continued due to short term extensions since then, we are facing this deadline. 

You can access the article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/congress-heads-for-another-showdown-over-transportation-funding/2011/08/23/gIQAUoYEaJ_story.html

While Grover Norquist of the influential interest group, Americans for Tax Reform, has said he will not target the gas tax in September, others continue to threaten to fight a federal tax, so that states could fund transportation instead.  

If you have examples of the impact of the loss of federal funds on specific highway, bridge and transit projects and the potential jobs impact  that you have gathered from your communities, please forward them to us and let your Congressman know how this will impact the state! 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer has said she will be preparing a four-month extension of the transportation program when Congress returns in September. We also understand that the transportation bill would be attached to a continuing resolution for all government spending.   All of this legislating and extension of the FAA bill, which expires on September 16 will have to take place in the 24 days between Labor Day and the September 30th end of the fiscal year and expiration of the federal transportation programs.  

We’ll keep you posted.   In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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