The Woodlands' bike and walk path program faces further funding hurdles

The Woodlands Township board of directors met Aug. 22.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met Aug. 22.

The Woodlands Township did not win sufficient support for its Safe Routes to School project from the Houston-Galveston Area Council this year to secure certain funding, and it was also foiled from pursuing grants from the Texas Department of Transportation, township Assistant General Manager John Powers told the board of directors at its March 27 meeting.

Governments and public transit authorities apply for funding through H-GAC—the regional organization that  prioritizes mobility projects—each year. The projects are ranked with a score up to 100, and projects scoring more than 150 are considered fundable, according to information on the township website.

H-GAC released its rankings for transportation projects March 22, but two projects from The Woodlands—The College Park Drive Shared-Use Path, and the Safe Schools access project, scored below the needed level to win support.

The Woodlands eyed another funding source when TxDOT on Feb. 8 released a call for projects relating to safe routes to school through the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program. According to information on the township website, the program funds locally sponsored projects for walking and biking infrastructure. Projects require a 20 percent local match.

However, Powers told the board the program is closed to projects that have already sought funding through the H-GAC. Even though The Woodlands projects did not score high enough to win approval, they could still receive funds if other, higher-ranked projects do not move forward.

As submitted to H-GAC, the project would have cost an estimated $4.17 million with around $3.33 million—80 percent—coming from outside funding. The township would have paid the remaining 20 percent, totaling $833,600.

The agenda item to seek the TxDOT grants was tabled by the four board members present.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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