Marc Lefkowitz | 11/14/07 @ 4:31pm
What if they were never built? The Towpath Trail ($1.85 million, '98); the pedestrian promenade and bike lanes on the Detroit-Superior Bridge ($2.3 million, '04); bike racks on RTA buses ($184,000, '03); a trail in the new West Creek Metropark ($400,000, '07).
Just a few of Northeast Ohio's cool "quality of life" projects-from multi-purpose trails in parks to bike lanes on Euclid Avenue-that were paid for using Transportation Enhancements, a federal pot of money that may be headed for the chopping block after $3.472 billion in cuts to national transportation funding were announced on March 19.
Ohio has to 'give back' $128 million of its 2007 budget, the 6th largest amount among states. The worry is state DOTs can take the money from nearly any program that has "unobligated balances." In the past, many states have looked to Transportation Enhancements (TE), bike trails, and pedestrian programs for the millions they have to give back. A similar rescission order was given last year and Texas chose to cut the entire TE budget, stating that it was a low priority.
Last year when the Federal Highway Administration asked for a total of $138 million back from Ohio, the state cut $32 million from TE, or 23% of its entire rescission. See a state-by-state comparison.
For a complete list of projects in Cuyahoga County paid for with Transportation Enhancements.
From the date of the actual order (March 19), Governors will have 30 days to decide how to make the cuts from their transportation budgets.
Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's TE alert page where you can find more information about what can be done to ensure TE programs aren't first on the chopping block.