NYS DOT’s response to an order from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to return $114.5 million in federal funding disproportionately affects programs that support bicycle and pedestrian facilities and active transportation. The Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program (CMAQ) lost $25.4 million, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) $900,000, and the Transportation Enhancements Program (TEP) $15.8 million.
While the Off Federal System Bridge Program was reduced by $57.2 million, this represents only 7.5% percent of the overall federal appropriation of $200M as compared to the TEP program’s $15M reduction, which represents more than half of the state’s annual appropriation.
NYSDOT made cuts to programs that had unobligated balances so that projects that have advanced to design and construction would not be affected. Programs like CMAQ, RTP, and TEP are often the ones that have unobligated balances as project applicants and sponsors (nonprofits and local governments) struggle with real estate issues, escalating costs, and other problems that delay completion of the project agreement with DOT that obligates the funding.