After reviewing Anchorage’s Bike Plan a visitor to this site asked how some of the improvements might be funded. There are several options, of course, and I’ve asked municipal officials to prioritize policy changes we can address as well projects for which we can seek funding. (I made the same request for the Anchorage Pedestrian Plan.) I intend to use those priorities as we promulgate Anchorage’s legislative program this fall, but state funding isn’t the only place from which we can find dollars to fund these important improvements.
Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions, or AMATS, is an important source of transportation funding, and plays a key role in transportation planning. As one of two Assembly members on the five-person policy committee one of my goals is to keep mass and non-motorized transit options at the forefront of our thinking. But the AMATS process is governed by its policies & procedures and therein lays an interesting story.
Once upon a time AMATS policy & procedure 3 dictated that its expenditures would be divided as follows:
Unfortunately, in 2003, the state legislature passed a bill demanding the allocation be changed to 80% roads, 10% TE and 10% CMAQ. I generally try to avoid speculating as to the intentions of other people, but it seemed at the time that motivation for this change had less to do with good public policy than with enmity between the bill’s sponsor and Mayor Begich. Fortunately AMATS is a federally recognized Metropolitan Planning Organization, meaning it did not, and does not, have to conform to state-imposed mandates. Unfortunately two of the five members of AMATS are state officials, representing the departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation & Public Facilities, and they combined with Assembly members to comply with the legislature’s demands.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. I proposed and at our August 8 meeting AMATS approved, on a 3-2 vote, another change to the funding allocations. The new rules are:
This represents a small step in the long road (pardon the pun) toward making Anchorage a true multi-modal city. It’s a fun and challenging process, and I look forward to hearing your ideas!
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