Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the start-up of a new special experiment project – acronym SEP-16 – that will evaluate delegating certain program-wide responsibilities to States.  FHWA is looking for letters of interest from interested states.  Generally, the Secretary can authorize States to assume project responsibilities for design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspections.  Excluded, though, are decisions relating to eligibility, obligation, reimbursement, authorization, and compliance.  States are instructed to develop and submit a “Concept Paper” detailing the State’s ability to carry out program responsibilities.  FHWA will review, and then decide about the merits of proceeding.
*  NOAA’s Marine Debris Program announced its FY 2019 Marine Debris Removal federal funding opportunity. Awarded projects will prioritize the removal of derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris to improve habitat and foster public awareness of marine debris impacts. Proposals are due October 29.  Projects are to create long-term, quantifiable ecological habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources through on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with priority for those targeting derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris. Projects should also foster awareness of the effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats, and contribute to the understanding of marine debris composition, distribution, and impacts. Up to $2,000,000 is expected to be available in Fiscal Year 2019. Typical awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000.

*  With transit, IndyGo, in Indianapolis, is the coolest system in the country right now.  It’s building out its Bus Rapid Transit system (yes, actually giving buses access priorities within the surface street grid so that service is fast and predictable) and last week it announced its second week of a pilot project selling fresh and affordable produce at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center.  “Food in Transit” aims to expand access to food for Indianapolis residents by bringing affordable produce to the Transit Center during peak ridership hours. Food in Transit features fresh food for sale Fridays from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM during September and October; it’s anticipated to reopen in spring 2019.  Hmmm… buying groceries but not using a car… Is that even allowed..?
Tom Ewing
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