ATP Cycle 3 Award Recommendations Released! Lots of Funding for Safe Routes to School Projects and Disadvantaged Communities

2015 ATP Simple BannerThe California Transportation Commission (CTC) has released its staff recommendations for the statewide and small urban/rural portions of ATP Cycle 3 . Forty projects are recommended for funding from the statewide portion, and ten projects from the small urban/rural portion. Together, these recommendations represent 60% of the available funds for ATP Cycle 3. The remaining 40% will be allocated by the nine MPOs around the state that receive a share of ATP funding for regional needs. There is also an additional $10 million in cap-and-trade funds available, though that has already been taken into account in awarding these funds, and those recommended for funding can ask that the funding come from cap-and-trade instead of the federal and state funds that make up the rest of the ATP (see our previous post for information on those guidelines).

Scoring: The scoring cutoff this year was 89, a point higher than in Cycle 2, and 83 for the small urban/rural awards. There were 137 projects with a score of 80 or higher, so this was a highly competitive year, once again. According to the staff report, the CTC received 456 applications asking for $977 million, yet given available funding, they are only able to award funding to 50 of those projects. While additional projects will be recommended for funding by MPOs, this still shows how oversubscribed the ATP is, and the significant need for more funding for walking and bicycling projects around the state.

Safe Routes to School: The good news is that Safe Routes to School projects continue to do very well! Of the 50 projects recommended for funding, 26 are for Safe Routes to School projects. Twenty-one of the forty statewide projects are recommended for funding (total of $56.8M) and five of the ten small urban/rural projects are recommended for funding (total of $15.6M). This is encouraging to see as there has not been a set-aside for Safe Routes to School projects since Cycle 1 but these projects continue to be very competitive.

The bad news is that non-infrastructure and planning continue to do poorly competing in the ATP. Only two standalone non-infrastructure projects and two plans are recommended for funding in the staff report. There are a few infrastructure projects with non-infrastructure components, but numbers are significantly down from the last two cycles. This makes the defeat of AB 2796, our bill this past legislative session to create a set-aside for both types of projects, all the more disappointing. We are committed to finding a solution to this discrepancy in the future, as both non-infrastructure and planning are the building blocks on which many communities, especially the poorest and more disadvantaged, are able to build the support and capacity to apply for larger infrastructure projects. We anticipate that the MPO portion of ATP awards will fund significantly more non-infrastructure and planning projects, as the MPOs tend to score those applications higher and in some cases provide a separate, simpler application (see, for example, SCAG’s regional call for projects, which is still accepting applications until November 18), so the overall number may go up once those awards have been announced.

Disadvantaged Communities: In terms of disadvantaged communities, all of the recommended funding (100%) will go to projects within or directly benefitting disadvantaged communities (DACs). This is up from 88% in Cycle 2. While we had anticipated the percentage of funds going to DACs going down this cycle due to changes to the guidelines making it tougher to qualify, the opposite happened. The staff report states that over 85% of submitted applications were for projects within or benefitting DACs, and that additional flexibility in the guidelines made it easier for certain communities to qualify. It is likely that many communities decided not to apply if they could not qualify as disadvantaged because they saw how many projects from these communities were funded in previous rounds, and that the 10 additional points awarded would make or break their application. So while we see this as a win that 100% of funds are going to DACs, there are still questions about whether or not these funds will truly benefit those communities, and if there will be pushback from any parts of the state that received no ATP funds this time around because they cannot qualify as a DAC. The highest score for a non-DAC application was 79, well below the 89 scoring theshold. We anticipate continued discussion as we go into the Cycle 4 guidelines process in 2017.

Geographic Distribution: Southern California continues to do very well in ATP, recommended for almost two-thirds of this funding. Since the SCAG and SANDAG regions also receive a large portion of the MPO funds, this is great news for many Southern California communities. The below pie charts and table show how the statewide portion of funding is recommended to be distributed across the state:

atp-cycle-3-by-county

atp-cycle-3-by-mpo

County Number of Awards Amount of Funding Awarded
Los Angeles 11 $25,276,000
Orange 0 0
Riverside 4 $35,241,00*
San Bernardino 1 $622,00
Ventura 0
Imperial 0
SCAG Total 16 $61,139,000
San Francisco 0 0
Sonoma 1 $1,461,000
Napa 0 0
Marin 0 0
Solano 1 $1,700,000
Santa Clara 1 $2,036,000
San Mateo 0 0
Alameda 2 1$6,428,000
Contra Costa 0 0
MTC Regional Total 5 $21,625,000
Sacramento 1 $3,009,000
SACOG Regional Total 4 $9,529,000
SANDAG Regional Total 1 $4,450,000
Fresno 2 $2,797,000
Kern 5 $617,000
Stanislaus 2 $4,047,000
Santa Barbara 1 $2,736,000
Other Counties 3 $23,443,000
Active Transportation Resource Center 1 $5,058,000
TOTAL 40 $131,763,000

NOTE: The Riverside County portion includes $24.3M for the CV Link project, which has previously received ATP funding for other segments and is highly controversial amongst our partners for the supposed benefits to disadvantaged communities it would provide. Our analysis is meant to be objective but we acknowledge that there are concerns about this project and several others that have been recommended for ATP funding over the years and that there could have been as many as ten other projects funded with the large amount of funding going to this project.

Eligibility and Deliverability Issues: CTC also issued a letter identifying 12 projects that were deemed ineligible for ATP, some of which were incomplete applications or missing information. There were approximately 200 other applications with minor inconsistencies or deliverability issues, based on a review by local district offices. That does not make these projects ineligible, however, but additional amendments or clarifications may be needed before they are recommended for funding.

Next Steps: The CTC will vote to approve the staff recommendations at its December 7-8 meeting in Riverside. The MPOs are currently reviewing or still accepting applications (many get rolled over from the statewide competition if they are not funded by the state) and those awards should be announced in January 2017 and approved by the CTC in March 2017.

For more information on ATP projects, check out the links below that were provided by CTC:

4 Responses to ATP Cycle 3 Award Recommendations Released! Lots of Funding for Safe Routes to School Projects and Disadvantaged Communities

  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Los Angeles

  2. Pingback: ATP Funding Recommendations: Fewer and Larger Projects This Cycle | Streetsblog California

  3. Kula Koenig says:

    Thanks Bill. very informative.

  4. Pingback: ATP Cycle 3 Update: California Transportation Commission Approves Statewide Award Recommendations | Safe Routes to School in California

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