Shavano Park City Council on March 28 voted to authorize city staff to submit paperwork toward securing federal monies that could support efforts to improve part of DeZavala Road.
The city will be asking U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, to include its request for up to $5 million through community project funding available in fiscal year 2023 federal budget appropriations, according to City Manager Bill Hill.
Shavano Park’s pitch, Hill said, involves leveraging the $10 million road improvement bond that the city will propose in the May 7 election to fix the city’s portion of DeZavala Road.
If approved as part of the FY 2023 budget appropriations process, the $5 million in federal funding would cover a majority of costs that Shavano Park officials estimate it would take to upgrade DeZavala between Northwest Military Highway and Lockhill-Selma Road.
Rebuilding this segment of DeZavala, improving drainage, and enhancing it with bicycle lanes and sidewalks is included in the city’s existing bond proposal.
According to Hill, preliminary talks between the city and Gonzales’ staff reveal that regional support for projects submitted for community project funding is a big selling point.
Hill said upgrading DeZavala would have a strong positive regional effect because of the proposed safety additions for pedestrians and bicyclists and the proximity of the Salado Creek greenway trail to the DeZavala/Northwest Military Highway intersection.
“We’ll focus on the DeZavala part because that provides the regional support—connectivity, [sidewalks], bike lanes—on DeZavala to Northwest Military Highway, and up Northwest Military to Salado Creek. It also takes care of drainage,” Hill said.
Hill said members of Congress are allowed to make up to 10 requests for funding to support specific community projects as part of a reinstated, reformed earmarking process that was banned until recently.
Hill said Gonzales garnered approval for all 10 funding requests submitted to his office for the federal budget process.
According to Hill, if Shavano Park voters were to reject the road bond issue, the city would likely lower its federal funding request to use the city’s existing $1.3 million in reserves as a matching amount.
The council also authorized the city submitting an application to the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program.
Curtis Leeth, assistant to the city manager, said in a memo that the new $7.5 billion grant program is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Congress passed in November.
Leeth said the RAISE program provides funding for “road, rail, transit, and other surface transportation of local and/or regional significance.”
The city is submitting the DeZavala improvement project for up to $5 million in RAISE grant funding, local officials said.
“This is going to be a very competitive grant piece. It’s very complicated. We’ll have to provide a cost-benefit analysis,” Hill said.
Leeth said if the city’s bond proposal fails May 7, the city will likely reduce or withdraw its RAISE grant application.