Ensuring infrastructure such as sidewalks, curb ramps, and buildings are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards are major issues for many states and localities across the nation. While good work is being done to create paths and spaces accessible to all, many municipalities are discovering that funding poses a major barrier to their efforts.
The Federal Surface Transportation Program provides funding to States and localities for transit capital projects like roads, bridges, and highways. Unfortunately there are frequently more projects than money to go around. Cooperation among localities can be key to creating the most favorable conditions of approval for the most needed projects. “At the Oct. 24 Franklin County Transportation Committee meeting, Union City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann requested that cities in the county, other than Union, not seek Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) grant funding.” The hope is, by limiting grant requests to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGW) to a sole project, the Highway 47 and Highway 50 improvement project would be awarded funds by default.
While it may seem unfortunate or unfair that these requests be made, in this situation at least, it is an idea that has wide support. Fortunately STP funds are not the only source of money, provided the localities have been proactive with related requirements, such as having an up-to-date ADA transition plan.
The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program authorizes funding for programs and projects including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, in addition to many other projects in the public right-of-way. According to John Nilges, The City of Washington’s public works director, “the city has an advantage [in seeking TAP funds] over many other communities in the EWGW region because it has an Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan.”
With increasing scrutiny around ADA compliance and funding being tied more closely to compliance with federal requirements in general. Compliance work in creating an accessible and equitable community for all is critically important to bettering people’s lives and obtaining much needed funding for States and localities.
Source: City Still to Seek Grant for Sidewalks — Won’t Interfere With Request
By: Gregg Jones, Missourian Staff Writer, Nov 3, 2019