ADOT: Stimulus not enough

Deputy director says federal funds won’t pay for all needs

LAKE HAVASU CITY - Arizona Department of Transportation Deputy Director Richard Travis hinted at a meeting of the Tri-City Council Friday a public works stimulus package might not be the answer to all of its needs.

Travis told the council Congress indicated it would not want states to pull general fund money slated for transportation infrastructure out for other uses in anticipation of a forthcoming stimulus package.

"The governor will be required to sign a non-supplanting document in effort to make sure that we are maintaining our current level of effort, in addition to the federal money," Travis said.

Travis indicated ADOT was facing an uphill battle in terms of revenues. Gas taxes earmarked for transportation have been down. ADOT has been asked to ship money into the state's general fund, Travis said, which could lead to difficulty with balancing the ADOT budget.

Between Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City, nearly 40 transportation or road improvement projects are slated for request of stimulus funds.

Western Arizona Council of Governments Deputy Director Dave Barber told the council no federal waivers would be permitted on any transportation projects. All necessary steps required by the federal government would have to be followed, meaning standards would have to be met and procurement would have to be followed, among other necessities.

Barber further indicated struggles with current legislation be reviewed and analyzed because they are moving targets.

"Funding levels and requirements are coming in almost daily," Barber said.

Work is under way to help ensure the transportation projects move forward.

WACOG, Barber said, is currently working to add the projects to their Transportation Improvement Program.

All projects must be included in the T.I.P. and in the Safe Transportation Improvement Program, before they could be considered for funding. If a project were not listed, it would not be considered.

Barber said he would add a separate list of economic recovery projects to forward to ADOT. If approved by ADOT the list would go to the WACOG executive board agenda in February.

"We will have done the first step in getting these projects potentially eligible for funding," Barber said.

According to Barber, he received word the projects could be separated into two funding phases, one for state projects and the second for local. The local projects would be those added to the T.I.P.

The easiest projects on a local level to move forward would be surface overlays, Barber stated. Miracle Mile in Bullhead City and McCulloch Boulevard in Lake Havasu City were among the roadways Barber projected as being included for surface overlay.

The projects would not require a 90/10 match from local city governments, said Barber. They would be 100 percent funded.

All projects would have to be eligible per federal procedures for stimulus funding. If they were not, Travis said they would essentially be wasting their time.

Rural Transportation Advocacy Council legislative liaison Kevin Adam noted the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed their proposed stimulus package. The Senate package is slated for vote this week.

The next Tri-City Council meeting will be held in Kingman April 17.