The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) met on November 29, 2006, at the TxDOT office complex on Riverside Drive in Austin. The main topic of the meeting was the upcoming TxDOT call for proposals for the Safe Routes to School program.
The call is expected around January, 2007 with up to $30 million available to communities across the state. The monies are from the 2005 Federal Transportation Bill, know as SafeTEA-LU.
BAC members reviewed draft TxDOT application materials and made recommendations concerning scoring weights and other factors that may affect the competitiveness of smaller and less affluent school districts. TxDOT contractors from the Texas Transportation Institute were present to work with the BAC on these issues.
In other business, the BAC passed a recommendation to the Texas Transportation Commission to make the proposed Old Texas Highway 20 Houston to Austin On-Road Intercity Bicycle Route the first official state bicycle route under the Texas Bicycle Tourism Trails legislation of 2005.
There was much discussion regarding the TxDOT Commissioner’s, Ric Williamson, decision to cancel the recent Transportation Enhancement call for proposals in order to meet a Federal rescission of transportation funds for other purposes. The BAC is continuing discussions on the subject and will deliberate on the issue over the next few weeks. (See related articles.)
The BAC members reelected Stallings and Garcia as BAC Chair and Vice Chair respectively. Stallings has served as BAC chair since 2002.
The BAC is a citizen’s committee that advises the Texas Transportation Commission on bicycle issues. Board members in attendance were Gretchen Arnold, Texas A & M – Corpus Christi Pollution Prevention Partnership, Annie Melton with Bowman-Melton Associates, Inc., Tommy Eden with Austin Urban Transportation Commission, Regina Garcia with Houston Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, Robert Gilbert with Texas Department of Public Safety, Kristy Hansen with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Sheila Holbrook-White with the Texas Citizen Fund, Tracy McMillan with University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and Robin Stallings withTexas Bicycle Coalition Executive Director. Michael Wyatt, Attorney, of El Paso was unable to attend. Paul Douglas, Statewide Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator is the TxDOT staff member for the committee.