“It’s a moving target until you get to the end,” O’Leary said of the funding game.
Safety features, impact on air quality, multimodal components like sidewalks and bike lanes, and project readiness are part of the rating process. A few points can make a big difference, Lombardo said.
However, the federal funding picture this year isn’t all sunny skies ahead. While the Lindsey Street project garnered the maximum amount allowed —$9,727,200, or 56 percent, of the year’s federal funding for this region — it was less than city staff had hoped. Estimates in the bond proposal were $11.5 million for the federal share on the Lindsey project.
O’Leary said the Lindsey Street design team will crunch the numbers and try to save the $1.8 million difference. While the passage of the bond freed up about $11 million that can be channeled toward other capital projects, O’Leary said he doesn’t think the city will have to tap into that money.
“Our first priority is can we reduce the cost of the project,” O’Leary said.
Because it’s less than a 10 percent difference, O’Leary believes it can be done.
“That’s certainly our goal — to bring this project in consistent with these numbers,” he said.
Another less than bright spot on funding horizon is the Franklin Road bridge over Little River. That project was identified for federal funding earlier, and the city had anticipated it to be continued over in ACOG’s FFY 2014 projects. Instead, a McClain County project ranked high, and the Franklin Road bridge just missed the mark to qualify.
Projects that failed to make the funding cut will be resubmitted in the summer for reconsideration.
Lombardo said city staff will look for opportunities to amend the current Federal Fiscal Year Transportation Improvement Plan to advance projects that are ready for construction. At this point, the Franklin Road Bridge Replacement Project over Little River appears to be a good candidate.