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Houston-Galveston Area Council

August 2013
In This Issue
TPC - July 26, 2013
Letters of No Prejudice
Regional Goods Movement Plan
AERCO Expands Service Area
Commute Solutions Month
Mobility NOW Presents...
TERP Grants Available
Did you know...?
H-GAC in the News
Join Our Mailing List!
August Meetings
TPC - Friday, August 23, 2013
 

Greater W. Houston Steering Committee
Tuesday, August 20, 2013  
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  

H-GAC Conference Room B
3555 Timmons Ln
Houston, TX 77027
 

 

FM 517/SH 3 Access Management Public Meeting

Thursday, August 29, 2013

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

League City Civic Center

400 W. Walker Street

League City, TX 77573

  

H-GAC's YouTube Channel 
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Transportation Policy Council - July 26, 2013

On Friday, July 26, 2013, the Transportation Policy Council (TPC) passed amendments to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which reflect modifications to projects valued at $5 billion. $69 million was programmed to additional 2013-2016 Call-for-Projects awards, including a direct connector at US 59 S/IH 610, widening of Smith Ranch Road, and Kemah transit vehicle acquisition projects. The full list of projects can be seen here
  
Commissioner James Patterson (left) Engages at TPC
Transportation Development Credits (TDCs) were once again discussed amongst Council members. TDCs are non-cash credits issued by the federal Department of Transportation awarded to states based on non-federal expenditures to toll roads. They can be used to meet the requirement for non-federal matching funds, allowing projects to be 100% federally funded. Ten Awards totaling 3.16 million credits were approved by TPC to be sent to Texas Department of Transportation for award for time-sensitive transit projects providing critical public transportation services. Click here to read a full description of TDCs and to see the projects receiving the credits. 

The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for 2014-2015 was approved by TPC. This federally-required document describes the regional transportation planning activities to be conducted during the fiscal years 2014-2015 by H-GAC, local governments and transportation agencies. Click here to review the document in its entirety.

  

Liberty County Commissioner Norman Brown was appointed by TPC as H-GAC's representative to a "1420 Committee" for Segments H and I of the Grand Parkway project. The "1420 committee" votes on the transfer of risk from the public sector to the private sector, the tolling policy, and allowance of TxDOT to move forward with private investments on the project.

  

The Regional Goods Movement Study was presented to TPC. The goal of the plan is to ensure that the regional transportation network will safely support growth in goods movement, mitigate impacts on the environment, community livability and quality of life. Click here to download and review the report.

 

Program Manager David Wurdlow at H-GAC provided a background to Letters of No Prejudice (LONP) and a review of the thirteen current LONPs in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). LONPs allow time-sensitive, critical-path transit investments to be advanced before federal grant funds are available. TPC agreed to review the projects for reimbursement to local governments and transit agencies before submission to the Federal Transportation Administration. Click here and scroll down for a list of projects with LONPs.

 

TPC agenda with audio is available with one click. A list of H-GAC planning activities is also available, along with the H-GAC Board of Directors Report.

Letters of No Prejudice Explained

A Letter of No Prejudice (LONP) seeks permission by the Federal Transit Authority
Administration (FTA) to begin or complete a transit project with local funds and preserve the opportunity for future federal reimbursement. 

 

An LONP is a federal decision but does not guarantee federal funds will be made available. The MPO must, moreover, agree to incorporate the proposed project into the region's long range plan before federal approval may be given. LONPs expire after a limited time, usually not longer than five years. There must also be likelihood that federal funds will be available within those five years.

 

The Houston-Galveston Area Council has received documents for 12 active LONPs, with seven proposed LONPs being reviewed for possible inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan. Click here to review the projects.

Regional Goods Movement Plan Underway

The Regional Goods Movement Plan identifies and prioritizes transportation facilities providing critical support for moving goods to, from and through the metro region. It describes investments in transportation infrastructure and operations needed to accommodate and enhance mobility of both people and goods, while mitigating the negative impacts

on congestion, safety, environment and quality of life. Currently this plan is in its draft stages and looks to be published before the end of the year. This plan is designed to ensure that the region can continue to play a critical role in national and international supply chains while meeting regional economic goals, addressing critical mobility challenges, mitigating impacts on the environment and contributing to community livability and quality of life.

 

The vision for the goods movement system in the H-GAC region is to be a connected, multimodal, world-class system that enhances the region's economic vitality while supporting the mobility and livability needs of its citizens. The document was revised in June with the following changes: more policy focused, more reader friendly, reflective of stakeholder comments and updated to include MAP-21 guidance. H-GAC staff brought the document to its Technical Advisory Committee and Transportation Policy Council in July and anticipates the final document will be approved later this year.

 

For more information, contact Patricia Lawhorn at patricia.lawhorn@h-gac.com

Houston Galveston-AERCO Expands Service Area

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has entered into an agreement with Houston Galveston Area Emission Reduction Credit Organization (AERCOto expand their geographic service area to receive and administer funds to recipients in 27 area counties.

 

aerco AERCO performs several functions: administering the Clean School Bus Houston program, accepting Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) funds for various projects, accepting private donations to the Clean School Bus Houston Program, and acquiring and distributing emission reduction credits (ERCs). These projects and programs will be used to help meet State Implementation Plan (SIP) requirements and for economic development purposes. 

 

Funds will be used to replace old, higher emitting school buses with new, lower emissions buses or retrofit/convert old buses with emission reducing equipment. SEP funds generated outside of the H-GAC region will be utilized in those non H-GAC counties. 

 

For more information regarding this program, please contact Robert Veazie, 832-681-2578 or at robert.veazie@h-gac.com

August is Commute Solutions Month

Commute Solutions wants you to join the "My Solution Is..." campaign! All this month you can help clean our region's air in many different ways. 

 

Commuters are encouraged to visit the My Solution Is Pledge website and pledge to participate in the solution that best suits their needs - options range from carpooling, to riding the bus, combining trips or even two-wheeling it on bikes or motorcycles.

Mobility NOW en Español Debuts Episode Two 

Episode 2 and Episode 3 of "Mobility NOW en Español" are every bit as informative and entertaining as our debut show, and you can watch it them now with the click of your mouse.

 

In episode 2, Isaac Ramirez, Chief Transportation Planner at H-GAC, speaks about the agency's Drayage Loan Program. Margaret O'Brien-Molina with METRO discusses "HOT" lanes, Light Rail expansion and Q Cards. Christina Garza of the Harris County Sheriff's Office explains how vital it is to make sure your kids ride safely.

 

In episode 3, Rick Guerrero gives us a peak into H-GAC's "Commute Solutions" program. Learn how you can save gas and time by vanpooling to work. Host Marco Bracamontes steps outside of the studio to discover how bicycling is a healthy way to commute to work. He interviews expert Conrad Hirsch who gives tips on this alternative transportation mode. Rosio Torres from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management offers advice for safe driving when our city floods.

 

Don't miss these exciting episodes of Mobility NOW en Español. Click the image above to watch now! 

 

$3 Million in Grants Available for TERP

H-GAC has $3 million available in Regional Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP). This program allows local governments from counties in the eight hour ozone nonattainment region (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller) to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by replacing qualifying heavy duty diesel vehicles or equipment.

 

Applications from local government entities, such as counties, cities, school districts, ports, public  transit providers, etc., will be evaluated using state guidelines. However, the applications will compete only against applicants within our region, instead of competing statewide.

 

H-GAC also has a flexible funding schedule and a faster, more simplified application process than the statewide program. In addition, grant approval from H-GAC's Regional TERP program does not hinder your participation in the statewide TERP program.

 

H-GAC Regional TERP funds will be allocated to projects based upon an emission reduction benefit-cost ratio. Though the regional TERP will remain open until all funds are allocated, H-GAC intends to allocate these funds as quickly as possible. Therefore, please submit your applications as soon as possible to increase your chances of funding.

 

For further information please contact Ben Finley, Senior Air Quality Planner, at 713-993-4556 or ben.finley@h-gac.com, or visit H-GAC's online Fleet Management information website to download an application.

Did you know...?

  

H-GAC in the News 

H-GAC Regional Goods Plan Aims to Ease Bottlenecks

  

Alvin City Council Hears Study Results from H-GAC

  

Transportation in Focus at Montgomery County Commissioners Court  

 

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This email was sent to mike.fuller@h-gac.com by carlos.giambi@h-gac.com |  
Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777