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The original item was published from 4/2/2021 11:48:58 AM to 4/6/2021 10:05:02 AM.

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Posted on: April 2, 2021

[ARCHIVED] PACTS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ON APRIL 6 TO RECEIVE PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON PROPOSALS FOR FEDERAL EARMARKS

Last week the House Transportation Committee initiated an earmark process for the upcoming Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.  Congresswoman Pingree’s staff immediately reached out to us to let us know about this new development, and to work with us to make sure our region participates in the earmark process.  

Staff expect to post an updated agenda with recommendations for priority projects that deliver broad regional benefits by the end of day April 3.  Please visit our website for the full meeting agenda and Zoom link.   Please also consider joining the PACTS Executive Committee meeting next Tuesday morning to share your thoughts and priorities regarding this new federal funding opportunity for our region. We’ve provided more background on the project parameters below.

If you are unable to attend Tuesday morning’s meeting, please submit your comments to us via email to: aclark@gpcog.org.

Thank you in advance as we work quickly to make sure our region benefits from this new federal transportation funding opportunity.

Background Information


The House Transportation Direct Project Funding process (earmarks) has been set up with these rules:

·       Capital projects eligible under title 23, United States Code, and chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code are eligible for earmark consideration.

·       If a project isn’t on a State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) or Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), which are from Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), they need a letter from state DOT or MPO that it will be added in a “reasonable timeframe.” 

Note this means earmark submissions will be coming from MPOs and the State of Maine, not individual municipalities, or other entities.

·       Timeframe for funding: Funding will be sent to states/MPOs in the first year of the bill, and funds must be obligated  within four years.  

·       Same cost-share requirements as the FAST ACT, meaning there are local match requirements. 

·       Deadline for submissions to Congresswoman Pingree’s office: April 23rd, but PACTS will need to submit as soon as possible.

·       Likely project funding totals for each Congressional member are estimated to be $15-20 million.

·       Process: Congresswoman Pingree’s office will receive proposed projects for direct funding and choose which projects to advance to the House Transportation Committee. Since her office has not set project selection criteria, staff have advised us to select a variety of projects, some larger and some smaller. 

House designated earmarks will still need to pass through the Senate (which has not yet set up a process for direct funding) and survive any Congressional reconciliation process that may be needed.


Types of eligible projects:

  • Construction, reconstruction and/or improvement of highways and bridges
  • Improve safety, mobility, and freight movement on roads
  • Planning, environment review, design, right of way acquisition, or operation improvements
  • Active transportation and transportation alternatives (pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure) 
  • Environmental mitigation 
  • Truck parking 
  • Transportation system management and operations 
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure 
  • Acquisition of clean vehicle fleets under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program 
  • Highway-railway grade crossings 
  • Certain rail projects with air quality benefits under the CMAQ program 
  • Construction or rehabilitation of a transit station or transit equipment
  • Purchase of rolling stock including rail cars for public transportation purposes 
  • Purchase of buses or ferries (including zero-emission vehicles)
  • Transit-related intelligent transportation systems 
  • Project expenses related to a capital project including design, engineering, location surveys, mapping, or acquiring rights-of-way
  • Transit improvements such as bus shelters, pedestrian and bicycle access to a transit station, and enhanced access for persons with disabilities and preventative maintenance

In preparing for potential federal stimulus packages, GPCOG issued a “call for projects” on December 18, 2020 for shovel-ready and shovel-worthy projects. GPCOG received 99 projects through its “call for projects” application portal.

Shovel-ready projects are infrastructure projects that are positioned for construction or implementation and ready to advertise for bids within six to nine months. 

Shovel-worthy projects are typically projects that offer significant economic, social, and environmental benefits, but which also require additional planning, design, and engineering prior to implementation. Maine Won't Wait: A Four-Year Plan for Climate Action by the Maine Climate Council recognizes the need for additional project development so that climate-friendly shovel-worthy projects can advance and potentially leverage federal funding.

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