From: CNN Money
Take the city of Arvada, Colorado, which has long sought funds for two major projects: a $35 million expansion of an east-west highway since 2001, and an $18 million streetscape overhaul to promote pedestrian safety since 2007.
City manager Mark Deven says he’s tried his luck with federal grant programs, like the TIGER grants created by the Obama administration. So far, no luck.
“These funds are very competitive,” Deven says. “At a meeting I went to a couple years ago with the federal Department of Transportation, one of the federal officials mentioned that you have a better chance of having your child admitted to Harvard than receiving one of these grants.”
“The problem we see with how funding has been going overall is on these short-term continuing resolutions,” says Michael Reeves, who runs the Port to Plains coalition, a group that advocates for transportation corridors between Canada and Mexico. “With transportation, it’s a long-term process, and it’s so important to have that long-term certainty.”
Sean Strawbridge runs the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas, but he’s been spending a lot of time in Washington lately.In meetings with White
House officials and anyone else who’ll listen, he brings a stack of glossy brochures laying out what he’s after: $225 million from the federal government to widen and deepen the channel that ships pass through.
The president’s fiscal 2019 budget for the US Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the channel, requested $13 million for the project. Not nearly enough to finish the job, even with the port itself supplying another $102 million.
President Trump unveiled a plan in February to turn $200 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion for fixing America’s infrastructure by leveraging local and state tax dollars and private investment.
The plan seemed promising, but it hasn’t advanced since. Strawbridge, who hired a brand name public relations firm to help sell his project, is growing less optimistic that the money will be available anytime soon.
“I would say at this point it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to see any legislative tweaks this year,” Strawbridge says. Without substantially more federal funding, the project might have to be delayed or scaled back, making it harder to satisfy the export demand stemming from Texas’ booming oilfields.