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Advocacy Enhancements

Enhancements Information & Updates

Over $50 million for bicycle and pedestrian facilities and education funding was awarded by the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) to cities all over Texas on July 29th! The bike/ped portion represented 42 of 54 projects awarded Federal Transportation Enhancement Program funds.

Project # Project Name
City Funding Area
STP 2011(260)TE South 1st Street Improvements Abilene $701,675 West
STP 2011(225)TE Bowman Branch Linear Park Trail Arlington $1,183,972 North
STP 2011(236)TE Safe Bicycling and Walking Campaign Austin $369,584 South
STP 2011(237)TE Citywide Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements Austin $569,509 South
STP 2011(238)TE McKinney Falls Pedestrian Way Austin $921,992 South
STP 2011(239)TE 183A South Brushy Creek Pedestrian Bridge Project Austin $522,836 South
STP 2011(247)TE Delaware Folsom Multi-use Connector Beaumont $661,134 East
STP 2011(231)TE Extension of the Nolan Creek Pedestrian and Bike Trail Belton $1,835,661 North
STP 2011(263)TE Canyon US 87 Gateway Enhancement Project Canyon $714,497 West
STP 2011(219)TE Lake Ridge Parkway Improvements Cedar Hill $2,254,506 North
STP 2011(258)TE Facilities for Pedestrians and Bicycles Center $955,627 East
STP 2011(261)TE Charles Goodnight Historical Visitor and Education Center Claude $616,981 West
STP 2011(240)TE Yorktown Blvd./Staples to Cimarron Landscaping Improvements Corpus Christi $1,353,868 South
STP 2011(216)TE Daingerfield Downtown Sidewalk Enhancement Daingerfield $842,076 North
STP 2011(220)TE Traffic Control and Safety Treatments for Trail-Road Crossings Dallas $709,773 North
STP 2011(264)TE Bicycle Paths El Paso $1,411,643 West
STP 2011(226)TE Neighborhood Transportation Connections for Ped & Bicycles Fort Worth $4,416,100 North
STP 2011(223)TE Phillips Creek Ranch Hike and Bike Trail Frisco $3,606,413 North
STP 2011(218)TE Goldthwaite Welcome Center Goldthwaite $1,270,683 North
STP 2011(227)TE Grapevine Links Trail to Hotels and Shopping Grapevine $934,795 North
STP 2011(241)TE 25th Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail Harlingen $2,099,049 South
STP 2011(242)TE City of Hidalgo Ped and Bicycle Access Project - Phase II Hidalgo $993,323 South
STP 2011(265)TE Horizon Boulevard Walk & Bike Path Horizon City $1,125,991 West
STP 2011(251)TE IMD Bikeways Houston $1,606,274 East
STP 2011(252)TE Houston SE Downtown Sidewalks Houston $1,585,906 East
STP 2011(253)TE Cullen Park Path Houston $661,940 East
STP 2011(254)TE Brays Path Houston $1,970,390 East
STP 2011(255)TE Fannin/Main Esplanades Houston $2,999,765 East
STP 2011(233)TE Andy K. Wells Trail Extension Project Killeen $2,557,897 North
STP 2011(217)TE Lampasas Past to Present Pedestrian Trail Lampasas $350,690 North
STP 2011(249)TE FM 518 Bypass Bikeway League City $2,187,386 East
STP 2011(221)TE Denton A-Train Community Enhancements Lewisville $602,186 North
STP 2011(222)TE DCTA Lewisville Bicycle/Pedestrian Facility Lewisville $2,791,516 North
STP 2011(230)TE Longview Train Station and Multimodal Center Longview $2,169,461 North
STP 2011(257)TE Feagin, York, Kurth Drive - Sidewalk Enhancement Lufkin $1,600,000 East
STP 2011(243)TE Bicentennial Hike & Bike Trail Corridor Beautification McAllen $913,069 South
STP 2011(266)TE US 385/5th Street Downtown Streetscape/Pedestrian Corridor Odessa $1,426,431 West
STP 2011(262)TE Perryton Main Street Enhancement Project - Phase II Perryton $1,082,705 West
STP 2011(256)TE US 59 / FM 762 Landscaping Project Rosenberg $1,284,085 East
STP 2011(267)TE Red Arroyo Shared-Use Pathway San Angelo $3,199,312 West
STP 2011(244)TE Same Road, Same Rules, Same Rights Public Safety Campaign San Antonio $276,000 South
STP 2011(245)TE Seguin Walnut Branch Linear Park Hike and Bike Trail Seguin $1,895,371 South
STP 2011(229)TE Downtown Sherman Streetscape Enhancement Sherman $353,978 North
STP 2011(228)TE Southlake F.M. 1709 Sidewalks Southlake $1,732,938 North
STP 2011(268)TE The Bankhead Highway: A Heritage Tourism & Online Portal Statewide $1,380,000 Statewide
STP 2011(248)TE U.S. 59 Ped/Bike Improvements Sugar Land $1,873,286 East
STP 2011(232)TE Temple Bicycle & Ped Trails in Temple Medical Education Dist. Temple $2,155,099 North
STP 2011(215)TE Downtown Transportation Enhancement Project Texarkana $626,770 North
STP 2011(250)TE FM 1764 Landscape Texas City $650,929 East
STP 2011(259)TE Trinity Pedestrian Trail Trinity $1,049,352 East
STP 2011(234)TE Brazos Park East Trail Extension Waco $2,085,286 North
STP 2011(224)TE Farley Road Pedestrian Connection Waxahachie $614,606 North
STP 2011(246)TE Wharton Sidewalk Accessibility & Historic Streetscape Project Wharton $459,244 South
STP 2011(235)TE Seymour Highway/Barnett Road Hike & Bike Trail Project Wichita Falls $2,477,629 North

Updates to Enhancements Issue:

Texas Bicycle Coalition staff and members played a leading role in saving over $75 million in Transportation Enhancements (TE) and the program. Cyclists rallied to the calls for action and sent scores of hand-delivered letters to TxDOT Commissioners.

The latest news from TxDOT on TE can be found at: www.dot.state.tx.us/news/006-2007.htm. Our combined efforts have saved TE from further cuts. Prior to the last rescission announcement from FHWA, the TxDOT Commission had said all of the remaining TE funds would be used toward future rescissions.

The Commission held a "Rescissions Listening Session" on March 22, 2007. Many cyclists showed up at the urging of TBC. Among those who spoke were: Robin Stallings, Executive Director of the Texas Bicycle Coalition, Preston Tyree, League of American Bicyclists Board Vice-President, and Stanton Truxillo, former Austin Cycling Association President. They all made strong cases for TE in their testimonies to the Commission. Transcript and video of the March 22 meeting can be found at: www.dot.state.tx.us/about_us/texas_transportation_commission/2007mtgs.htm

We really appreciate the assistance that Rails to Trails Conservance and the Enhancements Clearinghouse have given Texas Bicycle Coalition in our fight to save Transportation Enhancements. It has been very gratifying to work with the Texas Downtown Assocation, Downtown Austin Alliance, and many of the other organizations that have stepped up to save Enhancements from further cuts.

Texas Bicycle Coalition has initiated an aggressive grassroots campaign to spread awareness of the issue and gain support for reversing the decision including the following actions:

* In addition to the research, Texas Bicycle Coalition also recently met with 30 members of the U.S. Congress representing Texas in Washington D.C. regarding Enhancements last week.

* Texas Bicycle Coalition has sent multiple action alerts and have generated scores of letters that were hand-delivered to the TxDOT Commissioners and to members of Congress.

* Texas Bicycle Coalition has testified and/or generated attendance at almost every TxDOT Commission hearing since the rescissions were announced in November 2006.

* Texas Bicycle Coalition has helped form a coalition that includes preservation, historic, and economic development organizations to resist the Enhancement cuts.

* Texas Bicycle Coalition met with both the State House and Transportation Committee Chairs on the issue (Representative Krusee and Senator Corona). The Senate Committee then passed a resolution rebuking TxDOT.

* Texas Bicycle Coalition has worked with the National Enhancements Clearinghouse and Environmental Defense Fund to get advice and assistance on strategy and research.

Background Information on Enhancements Issue:

On November 20, 2006, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Commissioner, Ric Williamson, sent a letter to communities around the state advising them that the current call for enhancements projects had been rescinded, a surprise and disappointment to communities across the state. The decision “de-funded” the major source of bicycle trail funding for a large number of Texas cities and communities.

In order to reverse this decision, cities, counties, associations, organizations, elected officials and citizens across the state will need to contact the TxDOT Commissioners and voice their disapproval. FHWA has rescinded approximately 2% of the SafeTEA-Lu funding to the states. Most state DOT’s are taking their cuts across the board – from all of the eligible transportation categories. The TxDOT Commission has chosen instead to eliminate the major source of funding for bicycle trails and other enhancement categories.

According to TxDOT staff, approximately $230 million has been taken from the Enhancements program in response to the federal rescissions. Future enhancement project funding in Texas is essentially eliminated until the 2009 transportation bill. The location of the remaining balance from the $305 million rescission is unknown.

A list of the projects submitted under the November 2005 call for Enhancements applications, also referred to as STEP (Surface Transportation Enhancement Program) is provided. As it stands today, none of the projects listed will be funded. The letter from the Commissioner of TxDOT rescinding the call for Enhancements is also provided below.

A letter that TxDOT sent out to California, North Carolina and apparently many other states appears to be a push poll to get other states to follow Texas’ lead in eliminating Enhancements. We understand that only Arkansas and Missisippi are following suit thus far; however, in the future, there may be a danger of other states following Texas’ lead if TxDOT is allowed to get away with it.

TxDOT Commissioner's Letter to STEP Applicants

STEP Applicants April 2006

TxDOT Letter to CalTrans

Texas TE by County

Texas TE Projects

Transportation Enhancements Gutted

The Texas Bicycle Coalition has requested to speak with Chairman Williamson twice regarding Enhancements with no response. The TxDOT Commissioners will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, December 14th. The enhancements issue is not currently on the agenda, but hopefully there will be an opportunity for the public to speak to this issue.

The Executive Director of the Texas Bicycle Coalition, Robin Stallings, attended the Commission meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2006. The optimal solution will be for TxDOT to reverse the decision and allow some funding for Enhancements projects. Robin provided an assessment of the commission meeting in the attached document:

Robin's Assessment of Commission Meeting.pdf

This is an issue for countless types of organizations, not just the bicycle community. The general consensus is disapproval about the loss of enhancements from historic preservation to economic development. Texas Bicycle Coalition (TBC) staff has spoken with several federal congressional offices that are also unhappy with the decision. We have had some communication about this issue with key members of the state legislature and there may be additional support with them.

Plans are in place to activate a grass roots campaign to reverse the decision to eliminate the rescission of Enhancements this week.

The Texas Downtown Association has also initiated a campaign to help in reversing the decision to rescind Enhancements throughout the state. You can access their website for more information:

http://www.texasdowntown.org/news.php

The following are points that can be discussed in your letters:

The intent of Congress was to have an Enhancement program within STP in the transportation bill. This has been reaffirmed in each federal transportation bill since ISTEA.

Enhancements fund bicycle trails which can get bicycles off the street and improve congestion.

The bicycle trails can provide alternate routes to work and to transit points, helping to cut congestion.

More trips by bicycle will help improve air quality.

Bicycle trails via Enhancements can help supplement Safe Routes to School funding and help cut congestion by moving trips to bicycles from cars.

Bicycle trails improve property values.

The Texas legislature passed bicycle tourism trails legislation in 2005 to encourage TxDOT to foster the creation of bicycle routes and trails across the state. Enhancements are one of the best potential sources of funding for bicycle tourism trails.

Bicycle trails are good for local economies by attracting tourists and helping cities retain creative class workers thereby attracting major employers.

Funding bicycle trails and the other eligible enhancement activities helps to neutralize opposition to the transportation bill.

Enhancements project calls were in November 2005 with the submission deadline in April 2006. Each enhancement application requires significant resources for cities and counties to complete, typically $10-15,000 each. By canceling the program after the time and effort put into submitting applications, applicants are disappointed and disturbed. It is imperative that applicants contact their legislators for relief and resolve. The community supporting those efforts should also become involved by writing to their legislators and voicing their concern. These actions will put pressure on congress to take away DOT discretion to choose where to make rescissions.

We need your help!

We at Texas Bicycle Coalition are asking Texas cyclists along with their cities and communities to write respectful letters addressed to TxDOT Commissioners, requesting the reconsideration of the decision to rescind Enhancements. Fax or email your letters to us and we will hand deliver them to the TxDOT Commissioners and to your State Representative and State Senator. please include your return address.

Send your letters to:

Texas Bicycle Coalition

512-476-7458 (fax)

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Attention: Robin Stallings

There are many reasons to support the effort to eliminate the decision for redirecting funds from the Enhancements projects that were meant to improve conditions in our communities. The improvements were not meant only for cyclists but for all residents.

Please remember, you can help in several ways:

1) Write a respectful letter to the TxDOT Commissioner; and

2) Join BikeTexas as a member to support our advocacy efforts.

Thank you in advance for your support.

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