The Regional Transportation Authority will hold off on funding new bike and pedestrian projects for 2014.
The RTA has awarded 45 percent of the $80 million bike and pedestrian funds through the 2013 fiscal year, which is seven years into the 20 year plan.
Gabriel Thum, a senior transportation planner for Pima Association of Governments, said the RTA isn’t pulling back.
“I think we are just kind of catching our breath right now,” Thum said.
Thum said the RTA was in high gear for the first few years of the plan.
“A lot of what we hoped to do in the first few years of the RTA was to see a lot of dirt flying, a lot of projects hit the ground,” Thum said. “We feel like we’ve done that and we’ve programmed a lot of funding.”
Thivener said the RTA wanted the public to see the projects being done.
“A year a two ago we were in a higher gear,” Thivener said. “The RTA was really encouraging jurisdictions to get projects out the door so the community could see results.”
Thum said even though they aren’t allocating funds for 2014 projects, which would normally be taking place this month, it doesn’t mean they won’t decide to create projects for 2014.
Matt Zoll, Pima County’s bike and pedestrian program manager, said he hoped that would be the case.
“Right now it is on hold, but fiscal year 2014 is quite a ways off,” Zoll said. “I hold out hope there that within a year or two, they could open up some additional money for fiscal year 2014.”
Thivener said he was OK with the break because they have enough work to keep them busy for several years and understands why the RTA wants to hold off on 2014 projects.
“I think the RTA is just taking a look at their finances and saying, ‘ OK, we’ve committed enough at this point and it is also a decent time to take a breather,” Thivener said.
Thum said there are a lot of construction projects ready to go, but the group that evaluates projects and decides which ones will be funded, won’t have much to do for a while.
“When we are not evaluating projects, I call it the off-season,” Thum said. “We’ve got an extended off-season.”