INDOT Planning and Environmental Linkages Study

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently announced that they will begin a study to improve the U.S. 30 corridor from Valparaiso to the Ohio state line. The U.S. 30 Coalition received support for the study from Governor Eric Holcomb, INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness, and the Northern Indiana legislative delegation. 

The Coalition cited a freeway as the best possible solution to improve U.S. 30 due to the safety and economic disadvantages associated with the current structure.

The Planning and Environment Linkages Study 

The study will allow INDOT to examine various options to improve the safety, traffic flow, freight movement and economic development potential of the corridor, including the construction of a freeway. INDOT cited that the study will recognize the importance of U.S. 30 remaining a consistent type of roadway and not a series of individual improvements. They also noted that it will not simply examine the quickest or least expensive solution.

The Planning and Environmental Linkage study will examine the route and consider community, economic and environmental goals they evaluate safety and mobility solutions on U.S. 30.

Community Impact and Development 

The Coalition credits the northern Indiana business community, who made it clear to Holcomb and his staff that business retention and expansion is at risk without improving U.S. 30 to a freeway. The Coalition will work with INDOT through the study process, making sure that communities’ interests are well represented.

The U.S. 30 Coalition is an advocacy group is leading the effort in upgrading the current roadway to a freeway to be sure that U.S. 30 works for community members, while providing safe travel for drivers.

Region 3-A fully supports the study to determine if the project is warranted based on the impact it could potentially have on improving safety and growing the regional economy.

2021 Opportunities for Northeast Indiana Community Planning

The start of a new year means that many communities are examining and prioritizing areas for improvement and expansion. While further information on COVID-19 related programs and funding is largely pending at this time, we would like to remind communities of the ongoing opportunities available and how we can assist.

Economic Development Administration

Grants are available for projects related to infrastructure or workforce development that lead to job creation.

  • Brownfields – Rehabilitation of a site where there are environmental concerns.
  • Shovel Ready – Assistance in obtaining a shovel ready designation on an industrial site.
  • EDA – Technical assistance with projects related to public works, economic adjustment,   and planning.
  • Tax Abatements – We can complete all required paperwork for a designating body.

Office of Community and Rural Affairs 

 Their current grant funding opportunities include projects related to wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater. Also, there are funding opportunities available for certain types of planning activities. We must be able to show a residential benefit to have a competitive grant application.

  • Wastewater/Drinking Water Program – Up to $700,000 available to improve a community’s wastewater or drinking water infrastructure.
  • Storm Water Improvement Program – Up to $600,000 to improve a storm water system.
  • Public Facilities Program – Up to $500,000 available for a project that benefits the community. Projects we have done under this program include community centers, fire stations, libraries, and council on aging facilities. (Temporarily suspended) 
  • Main Street Revitalization Program – Up to $600,000 available to improve a downtown area. Approved activities include streetscapes, façade improvements, and downtown infrastructure. Must be part of an Indiana Main Street organization to qualify. (Temporarily suspended)
  • Blight Clearance Program – Up to $500,000 available to rehabilitate deteriorated or abandoned downtown buildings, or vacant or unusable industrial sites. (Temporarily suspended)
  • Planning Grants – Funding that allows for a planning study to take place on any infrastructure projects. Comprehensive plans are also permitted.
  • COVID-19 Response Grants – Up to $250,000 available to address issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transportation 

Region 3-A can assist with traffic counts, road reclassification, accident studies, and traffic impact studies. We can also provide technical assistance with grant applications for Community Crossings funding.

  • Community Crossing Application Preparation – Preparation and staff trained in PASER. Small communities have only a 25% match requirement.
  • FA3-FA4 Grant Application Preparation – Preparation for submittal by local employees in responsible in charge (ERC).
  • Road Reclassification Application – Traffic counts and submittal, prerequisite for some FA3-FA4 applications. 
  • Traffic Counts – Functional Class, Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) railroad safety.
  • Accident Studies – Review accident data and review for possible roadway remediation. 
  • Traffic Impact Reports – Analyze and report on new business impact on existing roadways.
  • Member Road Safety Audit Review team for Northeast Indiana – Review accident locations and suggest possible remediation.

Region III-A serves an area including Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, and Whitley counties in Northeast Indiana. If you are interested in securing funding for opportunities in the above categories contact us today. We look forward to a productive 2021 for our area.

Community Crossings Call for Projects Update

The call for the second round of Community Crossings was paused in July in order to monitor the financial outlook due to COVID. However, on Wednesday, Indiana Governor Holcomb and INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness announced that the next call for projects in the Community Crossings grant program will open Friday, September 25, 2020. 

Information from INDOT 

Community Crossings is part of Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Roads program, a 20-year, fully funded plan to enhance Indiana’s highways and local roads by awarding communities grants for shovel-ready local road construction projects.

Projects eligible for funding through Community Crossings:

  • Road resurfacing
  • Bridge rehabilitation
  • Road reconstruction 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance in connection with road projects 
  • Material costs for chip sealing and crack filling operations 

Projects submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation for funding will be evaluated based on need, traffic volume, local support, the impact on connectivity and mobility within the community, and regional economic significance.

Details

Community Crossings is open to all local government units in the State of Indiana.

  • Cities and towns with a population of fewer than 10,000 will receive funds using a 75/25 match.
  • Cities and towns with a population of greater than 10,000 will receive funds using a 50/50 match.
  • Counties with a population of fewer than 50,000 will receive funds using a 75/25 match.
  • Counties with a population of greater than 50,000 will receive funds using a 50/50 match.

Over the last four years, the state has awarded more than $730 million in matching funds to support local road and bridge projects around Indiana. 

All application materials must be submitted by Friday, October 23, 2020, at 5 p.m. ET. Communities receiving funding for projects will be notified by INDOT later this fall. 

If you need technical assistance in applying for Community Crossings funding, please contact us at (260)347-4714.

For more information on the assistance we provide with Community Crossings application preparation, visit our service page

Transportation Activities – Spring 2020

Traffic count activities for 2020 started on March 9. The Region collects traffic count data on a three-year rotation basis with collection taking place in two counties each year.

Traffic Count Counties 2020

This year’s traffic counts will take place in Wabash and Huntington Counties. We started this year with railroad crossing counts. There are 54 rail crossings in Wabash County, and 31 in Huntington County to be collected. This data is given to INDOT which then distributes it to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The data is used by our planning partners to improve safety at railroad crossings.

Region 3-A also does local traffic counts on non-state and federal highways.  Staff will collect data at 40 locations in both Wabash and Huntington Counties.  The data is submitted to the State’s statistical group and is then attached to a webmap. This information is combined with traffic counts submitted by the INDOT District and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’s) to complete all the counts that INDOT requires for a given year.  This website is available to the public.

If you have questions about this information or the data presented, please contact Dave Gee at 260-347-4714, or at dgee@region3a.org.   

The County Engineers or Highway Superintendents are given 15 discretionary traffic counts to help with their planning efforts. This traffic count data allows for tracking of trends, and possible development in areas of the respective county.

Accident Studies

This year we will also complete two accident studies. Accident studies involve a review of high accident locations.  A meeting is requested with the County Sheriff and County Engineers or Highway Superintendents to evaluate the areas in question. From there, one area is determined to be problematic; traffic counts are conducted, and a report is produced. These reports can then be advanced to a Safety Audit for possible remediation.

Region 3-A staff is also available for technical help with Community Crossing Applications, and Corridor and Traffic Impact Studies.  

Transportation Grant Programs

Our transportation department works to improve local road conditions and offers the resources needed for transportation grant planning.

We’ve added information on some available grants. Find all of the details on these programs under the Transportation Grant Opportunities section of the website.

Community Crossing Matching Grant

A partnership between INDOT and Hoosier communities, both urban and rural, to invest in infrastructure projects that catalyze economic development, create jobs, and strengthen local transportation networks.

Local Public Agency Programs Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) issues a project call for local rural projects. Funding is available for PLA’s interested in any type of new project including: bridge, road, safety, sidewalk or any type of project that is eligible under the federal transportation highway bill  (FAST Act). 

Local Tax Matching Grant

The rail overpass program provides grants to cities, towns and counties bodies for grade separation, crossing closure and other safety enhancement projects at rail-highway intersections on local roads.

Funding for this program is provided through changes in HEA 1002 effective July, 2017.

Highway Safety Improvement Program

The program provides remediation for six types of accidents.  The countermeasures are detailed in the Indiana Strategic Highway Plan (SHSP). This program applies to areas that display a higher than normal rate of fatal and incapacitating injury accidents.

Safe Routes to School

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) administers the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS).  This program provides for the construction and/or improvement of sidewalks that lead to schools.  program has been combined with the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).