Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spokane Valley Council Votes to Return Federal Grant Money

In a time when there isn't enough money for transportation projects to go around, it's rare that someone actually gives back grant money. But that's what happened Tuesday night when the Spokane Valley City Council voted to rescind the Valley’s part of a federal Community Development Block Grant allotted to Spokane County for 2016.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Spokane Valley is guaranteed 20 percent of the CDBG funds, or $337,075. The bulk of that money was to go to a project recommended by Spokane Valley staff that would sidewalks along Blake Road.

It is apparently too late in the grant cycle for the Valley to apply that money to another of its' projects, so the money will be redistributed to other projects within Spokane County.

So why did they relinquish the money? Apparently because other communities need it more. Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard said smaller, but more essential projects, in towns like Rockford – which may need a new well – are more critical than a sidewalk in Spokane Valley. Woodard said smaller municipalities will turn into ghost towns if they don’t receive assistance with critical infrastructure projects.

Councilmen Dean Grafos in response accused Woodard of not representing the Valley’s interests and said he plans to ask the state attorney general to investigate Woodard’s conduct on the CDBG board.

Apparently the residents along Blake Road aren't upset about losing the project though, many were opposed to the sidewalks because they say the area has bigger problems like speeding and unregulated intersections that won't be solved by new sidewalks. 

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.