You would be forgiven if you looked at the calendar and were surprised that it is already mid-September. The year has been moving fast. Fortunately, SDOT’s grant development program has been keeping up with this breakneck pace and accomplished several early key wins by submitting a record-breaking number of grant applications.
For a bit of context, the first half of even-numbered years are typically the busiest season for transportation grants. But even reviewing historical trends doesn’t fully account for the uptick in grant applications and our strong results.
The added bump is largely the result of three key factors: Congress passed the FAST Act – a major transportation funding package at the end of 2015, the USDOT has been awarding more grants than average, and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has been distributing additional funds.
Combined, the expanded activities translate into major wins for SDOT at an opportune moment. Approved by voters last fall, the $930 million Levy to Move Seattle is heavily dependent on these additional grant funds.
As seen in the chart below, the levy assumes additional leveraging of about $560 million. Leveraging assumptions include a combination of partnerships, grants, and other revenues. This leveraging plan is critical in order to complete the 9-year project list and also meet SDOT’s other commitments for basic maintenance and non-levy projects.
As a result of our record-breaking year, SDOT has secured well over $100 million towards levy projects. Included among the early wins: $2 million for the Yesler Bridge project over 4th Ave, $420,000 from WSDOT for our Safe Routes to School program, and recommendations for up to $4.5 million for road repair from the PSRC, among many others.
It is unclear whether current trends will continue because of the various unique factors in early-2016. However, we are definitely setting ourselves up for success by securing these important grant dollars early in the Levy to Move Seattle lifecycle.