(Poster’s note: The decision last July by DelDOT to protect federal CMAQ program money from recission appears even more notable in the wake of the later decision to use federal CMAQ funds for the first time for a bike project in Delaware.)
Bike-Eligible Federal Program Money Protected By DelDOT
CMAQ. STP. FHWA. Rescission.
OK, if you can tolerate the mysterious government acronyms, this story is the government equivalent of one of those heartwarming Reader’s Digest stories. It’s a story about folks in Delaware state government doing their jobs well and protecting the public interest.
As the Alliance noted
“Yesterday [June 30], the Federal Highway Administration informed state Departments of Transportation of another rescission of funds, this time totaling $2.5 billion…States are given maximum flexibility about the source of the funds that are rescinded – from the following programs: Interstate Maintenance, National Highway System, Highway Bridge, Transportation Enhancements, Surface Transportation Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, Recreational Trails, Metropolitan Planning, State Planning and Research, and Equity Bonus…States have to respond by July 8. Yes, that’s right: one week from today…By now you all know the drill. Transportation Enhancement and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds have consistently been inequitably targeted for rescissions in most states…”
These “rescission” (take back) demands come every year from the federal government but this year was different. Why? Because the day before the FHWA made its demand, the 146th Delaware General Assembly did something it had never done before. It voted a completely unprecedented $5,000,000 for state bike routes. With $5,000,000 in state money for bicycling, suddenly Delaware was in a position to access federal funds from two bike-eligible federal programs, CMAQ and STP.
In the first week of July, Bike Delaware made the argument to state decisionmakers that the action of the General Assembly had altered the landscape in Delaware and that CMAQ and STP should be protected from disproportionate recissions. In fact, we argued, these programs should be protected from recissions completely, so that those federal program dollars would be available to leverage the state bike route money voted by the General Assembly.
Last week, the FHWA released the state-by-state recission numbers. Result?
Delaware 2011 Rescission of federal CMAQ dollars: $0
Delaware 2011 Rescission of federal STP dollars: $0
“Bureaucrat” is the word people often choose when they want to imply something negative about either the motives or competence (or both) of people who work in government. This week, however, we rise to salute those Delaware “bureaucrats” who, responding to the will of the General Assembly, moved quickly to protect bike-eligible federal funds last month. We’re not completely certain who they are, but they showed quick thinking and good judgement. We are lucky to have them in Delaware.