Economic Stimulus Updates

Transportation Enhancements

There was concern as to whether some of the stimulus transportation money would go towards Transportation Enhancements. Enhancements grants often fund bike or trail projects in Michigan.

In the original House version of the stimulus bill, 4.5% of the highway funds went to enhancements. The Senate bill had 0%. The fear was it would remain at zero since the compromise bill was based on the Senate version.

The good news is the final bill specifies 3% for enhancements, or $825 million in total. It’s uncertain how much Michigan will receive.

Other Funding

But there’s “other possible funding sources for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure” than just transportation funds according to the Bikes Belong Coalition:

  • States will be receiving $53.6 billion in state fiscal stabilization funding. States must use 18.2% of their funding – or $9.7 billion – for public safety and government services. An eligible activity under this section is to provide funding to K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to make repairs, modernize, and renovate to meet green building standards. LEED’s green standards for schools include bicycle and pedestrian facilities and access to the school.
  • $3.1 billion is provided for the Energy Efficiency and Block Grant Program, which provides formula funding to cities, counties, and states to undertake a range of energy efficiency activities. One eligible use of funding is for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • And a total of $1 billion is included for a Prevention and Wellness fund at the US Department of Health and Human Services. However, specific funding for the Healthy Communities program, which provides funding to local communities to pursue community wellness activities address critical problems like obesity, was not included.

Project List

It’s also uncertain what projects this money will fund. According to the Lansing State Journal, Governor Granholm will list the potential projects in the “very near future” after President Obama signs the bill.

I-275 Bikepath Funding

Also, we had questions about both MDOT and the City of Novi having the I-275 bikepath on their economic stimulus wish list. We’re told Novi added it to show the city’s support for the project and to bring in the funding in case MDOT didn’t.

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