Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
rails to trails conservancy

Dear Campaign Advocate,

This is a very important e-mail about the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Act’s instruction that states must spend 50 percent of ARRA funds within 120 days caused significant confusion. Therefore, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) just released a Frequently Asked Questions page that provides guidance on what this requirement actually means, and how it affects Transportation Enhancements (TE).

Key points include:

  1. Which funds can be redistributed? Funds available for use in any area (program code C240) and funds for TE activities (program code C220) can be redistributed.
  2. How much will be redistributed? If a state has not obligated 50 percent of the sum of TE activities plus funds available for use in any area (the sum of C240 + C220), the difference between what was actually obligated and the above sum will be redistributed.*
  3. How will the funds be withdrawn? Withdrawal will occur proportionally to the extent that each of those two programs fails to obligate 50 percent of their funds. So, if 50 percent of TE funds are obligated by June 30, TE will be exempt from redistribution, even if general funds obligated have not reached 50 percent. See this table of examples for clarification.
  4. What will happen to withdrawn funds? States that meet the 50 percent obligation requirement deadlines will receive these funds according to set distribution formulas. These funds can be obligated in any area, without a set-aside for TE.

Therefore, unless you know for sure that your state has already obligated 50 percent of the sum of general funds and TE, it is crucial that your state obligate 50 percent of TE by June 30 to assure that no TE funds are withdrawn at this time.

Additionally, applications for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds are now available from this Department of Energy site. The EECBG was funded at $3.2 billion, of which more than half ($1.9 billion) is available directly to cities and counties. Walking and bicycling projects qualify for this funding stream. Please see this program alert document for more details about accessing these funds.


Rails-to-Trails Conservancy


P.S. Stay tuned for another very important, time-sensitive e-mail about the campaign to be sent out early next week. That message will request that your local leaders write your congressional representatives. Thank you.


* Rephrased mathematically: Amount redistributed = [(C240 allocated + C220 allocated) / 2] [(C240 obligated + C220 obligated) / 2]

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037