Funding Project Infrastructure
Funding Project Infrastructure
Application Period Open for Commonwealth Financing Authority Multimodal Grants.
In 2013, Pennsylvania passed Act 89, legislation that created new funding for investment in transportation projects statewide. One notable element of the bill was the creation of a Multimodal Fund for non-highway capital needs. By the fifth year of the fund, nearly $144 million in will be awarded annually to public and private entities for transportation-related projects statewide. Beginning on March 1st, applications are being accepted for the latest round of funding.
Broadly defined, the multimodal grants are available for planning and capital projects related to ports and waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian use. Eligible applicants are municipalities, councils of government, private businesses and nonprofits, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, or railroad and port operators.
Many multimodal grants are used for capital improvements that are purely public in nature, such as the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s project to improve Spring Garden Street in the area of I-95. However, multimodal funding can be used to supplement construction of private developments under the banner of streetscape and pedestrian improvements. Examples of recent projects in Philadelphia include:
- AIMCO and the City of Philadelphia are collaborating on the redevelopment of Park Towne Place, an 18-story residential and retail complex. A multimodal grant will fund street and sidewalk repairs, the installation of ADA sidewalks and drive entries, lighting and signage, and the upgrading of shuttle stops along the adjacent Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
- Children’s’ Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will use a grant to help fund the construction of a pedestrian bridge and stairway to link its main campus to the Schuylkill Banks/River Trail. The project will provide a safer crossing over an active rail line.
- The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) received a grant to renovate the entrances and exits along 9th and 10th streets at the Gallery Mall. The funds will make the area safer and more accessible with improved lighting, streetscapes and signage.
Grants can range anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million. Matching funds are required and project expenditures must take place within certain timeframe to qualify for reimbursement.
There are actually two separately-administered multimodal programs, each with its own set of deadlines. One is jointly administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The application period for CFA/DCED multimodal grants runs from March 1, 2016 to July 3, 2016. Projects will be awarded at the November 2016 CFA board meeting.
The other multimodal fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT); the next application period is expected to open later in 2016. Qualifying applicants may apply to both the CFA/DCED and PennDOT programs for the same project.
Public incentives can be a useful tool for making a project economically viable, but should not be viewed as a primary source of funding. Applicants should also be aware that additional advocacy may be needed as part of a successful application.
If you are developing a project which may qualify for funding, the professionals at Wolf Commercial Real Estate can provide advice on a variety of successful strategies for pursing public and private sources of funding.
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