Tyler poised to receive $13.2 million in grant funding for construction projects, public safety

Published on Friday, 15 September 2017 10:46 - Written by STAFF REPORTS 

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The city of Tyler will get over $13 million in additional funding through various grants over the next year. 

Those funds will help with projects at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, Tyler Transit and with traffic enforcement initiatives.

The grant funding opportunities were presented to the Tyler City Council during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The largest chunk of grant funds will go to the airport, which accepted a Federal Aviation Administration grant for the rehabilitation of its longest runway, Runway 4-22.

The project, which has been ongoing for several years, will result in a longer and stronger runway that is capable of regularly landing larger aircraft.

FAA grant funding will pay for 90 percent of the project, with the city matching the remaining 10 percent through its Half-Cent Sales Tax fund and other revenue sources.

The airport accepted a grant of more than $10 million to fund Phase 4 of the runway rehabilitation and construction project.  

This money, along with the 10 percent fund match from the city will cover the costs of engineering and construction for the segment. The council approved the city’s match of up to $1.2 million.

The FAA will also provide $180,000 for the purchase and acquisition of land easement to support the project. The city will match those funds with up to $20,000. 

Once completed, Phase 4 will finish the physical runway. The remaining phases will complete taxiways to get on and off the strip.

When it comes to the city's transit system, grants are the primary funding source. 

Tyler Transit received two grants to support the city’s public transportation system. The Federal Transit Administration Grant supports partial reimbursement for the operation costs of fixed route and Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit services.

More than $1.7 million from the Federal Transit Administration will support partial transit costs including purchasing new vehicles as well as maintaining them. It also covers some operating costs and ADA expenses. This grant supplies reimbursement for a portion of the transit department's operating costs. Remaining funds come from the adopted budget, departmental revenue and state grant funds.

If the city of Tyler did not receive this grant, city taxpayers would be responsible for all operating expenses.

In addition, Tyler Transit has received federal funding, passed through the Texas Department of Transportation. 

These funds will be used to purchase an Automated Annunciation System for 10 fixed route transit buses. The annunciation system will assist the elderly and disabled riders. The system will provide audio and visual next stop information, improve customer service levels and improve efficiency by minimizing the number of manual processes required from the drivers, according to the city.

The grant completely covers the purchase of the equipment as well as the first year maintenance and license fees. 

The funding for that project totals $92,738, which includes $18,548 in Transportation Development Credits. There is no local match required for this grant.

Another grant could help public service initiatives.

Tyler is pursuing almost $101,000 of funding for the police department. For 11 years, the Texas Department of Transportation has federal pass-through funding available to local governments. The purpose of that funding is to support an effort to reduce the number of traffic accidents within the city. 

The grant reimburses portions of the overtime pay of off-duty officers conducting enhanced enforcement of red light, DWI, speeding, occupant protection laws and public education programs.

These outside funding opportunities represent $13.2 million worth of programming and construction cost support over the next fiscal year, according to the city.