Federal rescission impacts sidewalk

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A federal rescission that could potentially affect funding for state and local transportation projects came under discussion in relation to the Charlotte Court House Evergreen Sidewalk project.

Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Executive Director Melody Foster presented the report on the sidewalk project during the CRC’s Dec. 19 meeting.

Melody Foster

Community Development Planner Andre V. Gilliam deferred the report to Foster, as he was recently away on medical leave.

Foster said that changes on the federal level could affect funding that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) can provide to its projects, including the Evergreen Road sidewalk project, a 2,100-foot walkway project along Evergreen Road on Route 40 leading to Randolph-Henry High School.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, according to Stephen Brich with VDOT in a memorandum addressed to Virginia county administrators and town managers, contains language that provides a nationwide rescission of $7.569 billion of obligated contract authority.

A rescission, according to the memorandum, “is a legislative action that cancels the availability of contract authority (apportionment) that has not been obligated to a contract or project in the Federal Highway Administration’s (FWHA) financial system.”

Rescission amounts would be calculated based on obligated balances as of Sept. 30, 2019, and the rescission would be applied July 1, 2020.

“The FAST Act prescribes the calculation of the rescission amount applicable to each state, as well as the manner in which the rescission will be applied; therefore, no flexibility is provided to the Commonwealth to determine how the rescission will be applied,” the memorandum cited.

Localities had to make any updates or changes needed to its projects and send to VDOT representatives by Dec. 5.

Foster said these updates or changes included examining the budgets of each project, making sure any projects were as tightly funded as possible, making sure there was enough money to continue the projects, and making any necessary changes by the deadline.

“Once they put that toward the federal government, they were going to be locked in,” Foster said.

Foster said CRC worked with the Town of Charlotte Court House and the project engineer with A. Morton Thomas engineering firm to make revisions on the project budget.

“Between us, and the town, and the engineer, we went back and made some revisions to the budget at the request of VDOT,” Foster said.

The updates, according to a CRC memorandum, include estimated costs for right-of-way at $41,500, the amount initially included in the budget in the project’s grant application; updated VDOT oversight charges totaling $8,000 ($5,000 additional for the preliminary phase and $3,000 for the right-of-way phase). The new grand total for the project comes to $364,233.15.

The CRC memorandum cited that VDOT advised if additional funds are needed to move the project forward, VDOT can request funding from other projects that have been de-obligated and request they be appropriated to the Evergreen Road project.