Project application deadline is June 29
Cities throughout central Ohio will vie for funding as the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission begins its two-year funding program for transportation projects.
The regional planning leader has $40 million to $50 million to dole out for local transportation projects for fiscal years 2014-19.
"This is about the amount of federal transportation dollars allocated to us that we can provide to local governments for transportation projects," said Nick Gill, MORPC's assistant director of the transportation department. "It's stuff that people are going to be pursuing right now."
MORPC recently wrapped up a long-range vision plan for transportation projects in the region over the next 20 years, but the funding project that just started is a shorter process.
"This is a cycle we go through every two years for things happening in the next three to seven years or so," Gill said.
Because the process occurs every two years, MORPC must wade through projects it already has committed to fund, as well as new projects submitted by entities in Franklin and Delaware counties and areas of Licking and Fairfield counties, such as Pickerington, Carroll and Pataskala.
"There are a lot of projects we've committed funds to in the past, and they're still making progress," Gill said. "We get updates and review those first and see how they're coming in ... before we go through new commitments."
Funds typically are allocated to construction and right-of-way procurements, he said.
"Our policy is generally right of way and construction," Gill said. "Planning and design is generally the local or sponsoring agency's responsibility. There are exceptions."
Projects funded through this process vary from major intersection and road improvements to sidewalks and multiuse paths.
"We have a mix of projects -- adding through-lanes to arterial roads, such as the Hilliard-Rome Road project on the West Side that's finishing up," Gill said. "We have projects that are just intersection improvements (and) transit-related projects. We provide funding for bikeways and multiuse paths and sidewalks."
MORPC is accepting projects for funding from local municipalities, but that's just the beginning of the nine-month process. After taking applications, MORPC reviews new and old projects and provides feedback. After that, Gill said, the entity requesting aid may decide whether to apply again in August.
"Then we go through and do evaluations in fall and generally have recommendations around Thanksgiving," he said.
The recommendations are presented to the public for review and comments in December; a MORPC committee takes action on the list in February.
MORPC always gets more requests than it can fund, Gill said, estimating that during the last round, $400 million worth of requests were made, but the agency only had $50 million to allocate. During the second application process, $225 million was requested, he said.
Applications for transportation funding are due June 29. For more information on the process, look online at morpc.org/ transfunding.