Rescissions take 2 (or take not 2 much)

Remember this?

Two weeks ago, you generated over 1,000 emails to the Governor and to WSDOT Secretary Paula Hammond.  Thank you! Our message: don’t disproportionately send back unspent federal funds that could go toward bicycle infrastructure.

What did we accomplish?

Almost immediately after we started the campaign, we heard from WSDOT.  It’s hard to say exactly what we accomplished, because we don’t have a precise picture of what kind of send-backs they were planning before they heard from us.  But in comparison to their August 2010 rescissions, nonmotorized transportation fared far better.

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Note that CMAQ (bottom line)—a funding source that’s actually funding some of our work as subcontractors in the Duwamish—still takes a pretty big hit at over $3.2 million.  But compared to 2010’s $16 million rescission, it fared far better.  And this year, the “Enhancements Set-aside”—one of the largest sources of bicycle funding that lost $13 million last year—was untouched.

Aside from protecting this unobligated funding from being returned, we are also glad to have started a positive conversation with WSDOT about their process.  It can’t be any fun to scramble around and send back $43 million, and we understand that they want to send back less flexible funds so they can be more nimble.  I think they’ve heard from you that we don’t want to disproportionately ding nonmotorized transportation.  And we’ll hold that line, because there are billions of dollars of needed bike and ped projects—$1.6 billion statewide of which sit unfunded on Local Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs).

We’re eager to work more with our local and regional governments so that the money is competed for, apportioned and spent.  That way, we won’t have to throw back money to the federal government, since it will be invested in real projects that make a real difference for bikes.