The Houston - Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) 2013 Call for Projects public comment process will end on April 5, 2013 and the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council (TPC) will decide how to allocate $446 million in funds partially based upon this public input some time this spring.
Every year, the TPC decides how the region will allocate a pool of regionally discretionary transportation funds that can be used for walking, biking, transit, planning, demand management, maintenance, and new road transportation projects.
This year, the TPC will decide how to spend $446 million, with $827 million in proposed projects. Of the proposed projects that H-GAC staff deem most likely to be funded, there are:
$26.7 million in bicycle, pedestrian and livable centers implementation projects
$24.1 million in transit projects
$6.5 million in planning projects
$6.9 million in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects
$0 million in road maintenance projects
$205.9 million in new road infrastructure projects
An additional $63.8 million in additional transit projects have been proposed in a manner that H-GAC reports the funding of which would represent a “change in policy.” These projects were not included in the tier system explained in the presentation as they were added late. These funds primarily represent the Uptown Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line and related construction in the Uptown Galleria area, projects that were finalized after the result of the 2012 Metro Referendum vote
H-GAC presented a general guideline for funding among the various modes with the following potential allocations:
Roadway/Mobility $283 - $333 million
Alternative Modes $62 - $90 million
Air Quality $37 - $66 million
According to David Wurdlow, H-GAC Transportation Program Manager:
The percentages were developed and adopted by the TPC during the last (2011-2014) TIP Call For Projects process. They were used as the starting point for the 2013-2016 TIP Call funding allocation discussion, and we reached consensus at the TIP Subcommittee, TAC and TPC without modification.
Again, these percentages are (1) a rough guide, and (2) reflect decisions on the CMAQ/STP-MM and related programs only. They are not, nor are they intended to be, representative of the entire TIP or RTP program of projects.
In the recent H-GAC survey posted at ourregion.org, a broad sample of over 6,000 Houstonians said they would allocate about 13% of available funding to new roads and highways, 26% to transit, and 14% to sidewalks and bikeways, amongst other projects.
Houston Tomorrow published a Primer on the TIP during the 2011 cycle (pdf). At that time, a large coalition of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit transportation infrastructure advocates focused on the TIP Call for Projects, including a petition that gained over 2,600 signatures in favor of allocating more spending on alternative modes - what we believe to be the most people who have ever contacted the TPC on any one issue or debate. The TPC chose to spend all remaining funds at the time on roads.
Everyone is encouraged to find out more about the possibilities for funding transportation projects in the region and to comment:
Deadline for Comments: 5:00pm, April 5, 2013
Fax: (713) 993-4508
Mail: Transportation Public Information
Houston - Galveston Area Council
P.O. Box 22777,
Houston, TX 77227-2777
Legal Notice of Public Comment Period (pdf)
Project Evaluation Criteria (pdf)
TIP Call for Projects project listing including scoring not included in public comment documents can be found in this document (pdf)
Five strategies to facilitate the paradigm shift in transportation
Stop investing in roads to build new neighborhoods that cause other neighborhoods to flood
Houston's mean streets: Our city's road design is killing people