Notable bike/ped/transit funding advocates on the board are Sarah Eckhardt (Travis County Commission) and Chris Riley (Austin City Council). They challenged some aspects of the analysis that suggested bike/ped funding would be capped at 15%, when the 15% actually represents a mandatory threshold for bike/ped funding within STP-MM.
On the other side, Cynthia Long, Williamson County Commissioner, advocated for each local jurisdiction to make its own decision of how federal funding should be spent. Will Conley, Hays County Commissioner, advocated for a similar “geographic” distribution approach. These approaches essentially undermine the intent of having a metropolitan governing body that guides funding to projects that serve the metro region holistically. Said Commissioner Eckhardt of the geographic distribution approach, “it makes five separate ‘CAMPOs’”. She also noted several times that a geographic approach would likely neglect the 15% bike/ped and 50% urban centers STP-MM spending set-aside previously approved by the board.
Though Commissioner Eckhardt was the most vocal proponent of preserving the regional decision making authority of CAMPO, others gave strong concurring opinions. George Garver, Mayor of Georgetown, questioned the legality of undermining the metropolitan decision making process, given that the federal government requires such a metro-focused process.
Sam Biscoe, Travis County Judge and CAMPO Policy Board Chair, worked toward finding a process that would be amenable to both sides of the regional vs. geographic approaches debate. By the end, the approved process moving forward was to:
So this essentially deferred the decision about regional vs. provincial (or geographic) planning to the Nov. 14th meeting, albeit with new specific information about how this will affect the STP-MM funding choices.
For email updates on the CAMPO decisions on STP-MM funding, you can sign up to the League of Bicycling Voters email list at lobv.org/join/ . Once there, you can also become a dues-paying member of the LOBV to support our work at CAMPO, the City of Austin, TxDOT, Travis County, and other jurisdictions to ensure that our transportation infrastructure continues to serve more and more people to go by bike. Much of our city’s recent bike infrastructure, including facilities that you likely use on a regular basis, only happened because we have members who support our work to advocate bicycling infrastructure. If you have never joined a non-profit, and you’re an A2W reader, this is first you should join.