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Funding Sources

Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Program

By | Funding Sources, Speak up for Biking

Each year the State of Maine Office of Community Development receives funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be distributed to eligible Maine communities under the Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Program. Some of these funds can be used for physical infrastructure safety improvements such as building sidewalks and other quality of place facilities.Contact local municipal staff to learn more about application deadlines. FMI: Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Program 
CBDG Program Categories:

  • Downtown Revitalization Program – includes sidewalks
  • Public Facilities – includes parks and recreation facilities
  • Public Infrastructure – includes streets, roads and sidewalks, curbs and gutters
  • Maine Downtown Center Assistance – includes planning, capacity building, technical assistance and administration directly related to furthering the Maine Downtown Center’s objectives in building vibrant, sustainable Maine downtowns
  • Economic Development Program – includes streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, etc. owned by the municipality or public or private utility and where improvements would support of an identified business which will create or retain jobs in the non-retail sector for low and moderate income persons.

For infrastructure improvement projects in Auburn, Bangor, Biddeford, Lewiston, Portland and anywhere else in Cumberland County (with the exception of Baldwin, Brunswick, Casco and Frye Island) – these areas have a local CBDG funding process.
Letter of Intent Deadlines Vary by program. For More Information see the CDBD Program Statement

Regional Councils of Government (COGs)

By | Funding Sources, Speak up for Biking

All organized towns in Maine are part of a Council of Governments, or COG. COGs also serve as the Regional Planning Organizations for their member towns. These regional entities can sometimes provide funding or technical assistance to municipalities that want to create a bike/ped plan or another type of plan that involves community and/or economic development. Contact the staff at your Council of Government to find out what services or funding they might have available to help plan or construct a bicycle, pedestrian, or other transportation facility.

Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs)

By | Funding Sources, Speak up for Biking
  • Maine’s four urbanized areas (Portland area, Bangor area, Kittery area, and greater Lewiston-Auburn) are part of Metropolitan Planning Organizations or MPOs.
  • If your community is part of the MPO region it is eligible for planning and construction money through that entity.
  • Municipalities that are part of an MPO can apply to that entity for planning or construction funding.
  • This does not exclude them from applying directly to the MaineDOT for the programs listed in that section.
  • If a municipality applies for funding through the MPO and is accepted, that project will appear on the following year’s Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), which dictates how they will fund projects within their jurisdiction.

Private Fundraising

By | Funding Sources
  • Start a Local Fundraising Campaign: A great online tool for organizing a local fundraising campaign for a civic project is: http://neighbor.ly/
  • Local Business and Community Groups (e.g. Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Masons, Lions, Chambers of Commerce) are great sources of small grants. Local community groups can often provide support in the $500-$5000 range. The Kiwanis Club has a historical connection to bicycle safety education, but other groups are often helpful for volunteers as well as funding.
  • Local businesses, especially those that are adjacent to the bicycle or pedestrian project you’re working on, can be good sources of support as well as funding. (Start with banks, Chambers of Commerce, anDowntown Organizations)

Municipal Funds

By | Funding Sources

If you’re looking for funding for a local infrastructure project, step one is to talk to a member of your municipal staff. This could be the planner, engineer, grant-writer, assistant town manager, town administrator, or public works director. Finding the right staff person who can help you with funding will depend on the size of your town. In a small town, start with your town manager or administrator and Public Works Director. Asking questions about how projects are funding is also an easy way to get the bike/ped conversation started with the town. Sources of municipal construction funding may include:

  • Municipal Capital Improvement Program (CIP Yearly Budget)
  • Other Town Budget funds
  • Municipal Bonding
  • Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts. TIFs allow communities to capture incremental growth in property tax revenue, over a period of time, for reinvestment within the community.
  • Other Municipal Funding Streams. The City of Portland has adopted a few innovative funding streams for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Learn more.
  • Private Developer Funds

Help Save Bicycle/Pedestrian Funding TODAY!

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Funding Sources

 

Legislative Action Alert! Please help us maintain the Transportation Alternatives program which is the only dedicated federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.  Just last year Congress cut this funding by 30%.  Senator Paul of Kentucky has introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill to prohibit ANY MONEY from being used for Transportation Alternatives, and to redirect that money towards other projects. Taking that small amount of funding away would dangerously undermine efforts in our cities, towns and counties to provide safe and efficient transportation options for everyone.  

Please contact your Senators (enter your zip code on the next page) and ask them to save Transportation Alternatives by voting NO on amendment 1742.  The Senate hopes to finish this bill today or tomorrow so please act soon!

Please note: Senator Collins actions on the Paul amendment will be critical!  She is the ranking Republican on the Transportation, HUD Appropriations Committee and her vote will effect other Republicans. 

Senator Collins  regional offices can be reached at the numbers below:

Bangor

202 Harlow Street, Room 204

Bangor, ME 04402

(207) 945-0417

(207) 990-4604

 

Augusta

68 Sewall Street, Room 507

Augusta, ME 04330

(207) 622-8414

(207) 622-5884

 

Biddeford

160 Main Street

Biddeford, ME 04005

(207) 283-1101

(207) 283-4054

 

Lewiston

55 Lisbon Street

Lewiston, ME 04240

(207) 784-6969

(207) 782-6475

 

Caribou

25 Sweden Street, Suite A

Caribou, ME 04736

(207) 493-7873

(207) 493-7810

 

Portland

One Canal Plaza, Suite 802

Portland, ME 04101

(207) 780-3575

(207) 828-0380

Urge your State Senator and Representative to support bike & pedestrian funding!

By | Funding Sources, Speak up for Biking

 

Background

The Appropriations Committee is currently looking at 30 bonds to issue.  A number of them focus on transportation.  LD 16 asks for $100 million for transportation infrastructure including $5 million for bike/ped projects.  One other proposed bond specifies funding for bike/ped, but only $1.5 million.  None of the others mention bike/ped.  All the transportation bonds will most likely be combined into one bond and we want to ensure that 5% of the total amount to be dedicated for bike/ped projects.

 

WHY do we need a bond to fund bike/ped projects?

Last spring (2012), when the MDOT opened the biennial Quality Communities Program (QCP), which funnels federal funding for biking or walking projects to Maine towns, 92 communities applied for funding, for projects adding up to $45 million.

In June 2012, Congress finally passed the federal transportation re-authorization. This law cut dedicated funding for walking and biking projects in Maine by 47%.  The result is that the MDOT has only $6.6 million in 2013-14 to fund the QCP projects.  Because of a huge backlog that already existed, all of the funding for the 2012 Quality Community Program will be used for construction of previously approved projects that have completed preliminary design.  That means that NONE of the 92 towns that submitted applications will be funded this cycle.

Clearly, we need another source of funds to support this demand and this is why dedicated funding for walking and biking projects is essential.

Need more reasons to support this bond?  The folks at the Maine Better Transportation Association shared this:

  1. MaineDOT will have to cut projects from Its work plan without a bond
  2. We need a bond to help fIx our brIdges
  3. MaIne needs the Jobs
  4. WIthout a bond, MaineDOT’s projected annuaL shortfall grows by $50 million
  5. Critical projects that are brIngIng new busIness to Maine will be put on the back burner
  6. Our towns and cities will come up short
     


Take Action Now!

  1. Call your legislator!  Phone call is best, even if you have to leave a voicemail.  Paper letter is next best.  Email is ok but the legislator may never get to it.
  2. You can find out your legislator and their contact info here.  Enter your town, street number and street name.  Click the “Submit” button.  At the next screen, click the “Elected Officials” tab and scroll down to “Maine Senate” and Maine House of Representatives”.
  3. Ask them to include dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the new transportation bond!
  4. If your legislator is on the Appropriations Committee, it’s even more important to call them–they have extra power in the bond decisions.  If your legislators aren’t on the committee, but you like making these calls, please call the chairs of the committee (Dawn Hill, York; Peggy Rotundo, Lewiston).

Please share this extra information with your friends.  Again, the more calls, the more likely the final version of the bond will specify dedicated funding for bike/ped.

PPH Highlights Coalition in Discussion about new Transportation Bill

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Funding Sources

 

The new federal transportation bill, signed into law last week, includes some controversial potential cuts for bicycle and pedestrian funding.  The Portland Press Herald contacted the Coalition for the bikers’ perspective.


Transportation bill presents potential ‘triple whammy’

By Kevin Miller kmiller@mainetoday.com
Washington bureau chief

Advocates for making Maine friendlier for cyclists and walkers are expressing concerns about federal funding cuts to programs that communities often use to pay for bike lanes, crosswalks and road safety programs aimed at schoolchildren.

But the Maine Department of Transportation is dismissing some of the worst-case scenarios being discussed, saying it’s too early to tell precisely how the federal cuts could affect the state’s bicycle and pedestrian safety programs.

President Obama is expected to sign the first multi-year transportation funding bill since 2009 in a ceremony today, roughly one week after Congress approved the $120 billion spending plan.

The bill maintains overall funding levels for the next 27 months, but cuts funding for bike and pedestrian safety programs by about 30 percent.

The bill also makes money available for additional types of non-highway projects and gives states more discretion in spending, allowing them to divert money intended for bicycle or pedestrian projects to other transportation needs.

The result, says the head of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, is a potential “triple-whammy” to projects aimed at making Maine more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

“This bill absolutely impacts Maine and will most likely reduce the number of bicycle-pedestrian projects being completed,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

But the scope of the potential cuts is up for debate.

America Bikes, a national advocacy group, released an analysis saying that the transportation budget could reduce funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects by 60 percent to 70 percent — about double the actual cut.

For that to happen, however, every state would have to take advantage of the language in the bill allowing states to divert funding to other transportation needs.

Dan Stewart, bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator for the Maine Department of Transportation, dismissed such large figures as “misinformation” and said it is premature to say how state programs will be affected.

“We don’t know if there is even going to be a 30 percent reduction in Maine,” Stewart said. “That’s a national (figure), and the effect on states may vary.”

What is clear is that demand in Maine far outstrips available funding for programs to make the state’s streets more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

Stewart said his department received $45 million worth of requests from 92 municipalities that sought shares of funding in a recent application period. The budget for bike and pedestrian projects has been about $7 million to $8 million in recent years, he said.

Federal transportation budgets aren’t the only source of funding for those projects, Stewart said.

South Portland, for example, recently submitted an application to the National Endowment for the Arts for projects to design bike racks in some neighborhoods and to convert a building in Mill Creek Park into a combination artist’s studio and bike rental location.

“There is a lot of energy locally for these sorts of things,” said Tex Haeuser, South Portland’s director of planning and development, so even if the federal funding shrinks, supporters of bike and pedestrian projects will pursue money from other sources.

Grant, with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, said the MDOT has been “very committed” to bike and pedestrian programs in recent years and she hopes that support will continue.

She said coalition members will have to ensure that state legislators understand the health, economic and environmental benefits of such projects.

John Brooking of Westbrook, who commutes to South Portland daily by bike, said he has been monitoring the funding issue.

Brooking, who founded a social group that’s intended to help bike commuters meet and network, said interest in biking to work has clearly increased locally in recent years.

Although access to bike lanes or paths is important for creating a bike-friendly atmosphere, Brooking said, cyclists themselves play a crucial role in their own safety and, by extension, how motorists view them.

That is why Brooking teaches a “Cycling Savvy” program to teach cyclists about “the best and safest ways to ride in places where there is no infrastructure.”

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

Bike-Pedestrian Funding Opportunity Soon to be Announced by MaineDOT!

By | Featured Posts, Funding Sources

If you think improvements such as sidewalks, crossing improvements, traffic calming, improved signage, bike lanes, etc. would increase safety and get more students walking and biking to school or after school activities in your community, please contact Maine Safe Routes to School Program staff now to learn more about MaineDOT’s Quality Community Program (QCP)!  The Quality Community Program, which includes federal Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funding on a two year cycle, offers opportunities to improve community transportation-related facilities through bicycle and pedestrian, safety, environmental, scenic, historic, and other quality community improvements. The next round of applications are expected to be released this spring to compete for funding available in fiscal years 2014-2015 – with a Letter of Intent to apply likely due from municipalities this May and applications likely due July 1, 2012.

crosswalk and light

We can share additional details about this opportunity and arrange a site visit from the Maine Safe Routes to School team and MaineDOT engineers to evaluate needs in your community.  These meetings are very helpful in pulling the right people to the table and conducting a site walk to evaluate potential solutions to improve safety.  Learn more here about tips for preparing for this next QCP/SRTS funding application process.  For inspiration about what safety improvements can mean for schools, read about a few communities that were awarded funding in past rounds.