Purpose of Grant Application for Federal Transit Administration Funds
The Nassau County Planning Department is currently applying for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds that will be used for the Nassau Hub transit and transportation planning initiative. As its name suggests, the Hub, or Nassau Centre, is the geographic center of Nassau County - as well as the heart of its economy. The Hub, as defined for planning purposes, is bounded on the north by the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Jefferson Branch, on the east by Eisenhower Park, on the south by Hempstead Tpke. (and its abutting development), and on the west by Franklin Avenue. Located within the Hub are many of Nassau County’s leading business, educational, retail and entertainment venues, including: RexCorp Plaza, Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Roosevelt Field and The Mall at the Source, Museum Row and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Also within the Hub Study Area are the Incorporated Villages of Hempstead, Garden City, Mineola and Westbury. In June 2003, Nassau County embarked upon one of the most significant endeavors in recent history -- a Major Investment Study (MIS) of the Nassau Hub. The MIS, completed in early 2006, identified new transportation options and land use strategies that can help meet the future transportation and development needs in this area. This would be done through a joint transportation and land use planning strategy designed to improve access and mobility, promote economic development, and enhance the quality of life. In recent years, traffic congestion has dramatically increased due to the high concentration of business and recreational activity in the Hub. If no action is taken, projections estimate traffic will increase 36% (from 480,000 "person trips" in and out of the Hub, to 650,000 a day over the next 10 years). This additional volume has the potential to bring Nassau County's economic engine to a halt – that is why transit is so important for the future of the Hub. The next step in the Hub planning process is to conduct an Alternatives Analysis/Environmental Impact Statement (AA/EIS). The Nassau County Planning Department is currently applying for $2,322,500 in FFY 2006 Section 5309 earmark funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation, Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The specific amount for each earmark is: Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Project No.368 for $1,332,500 and Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Project No. 585 for $990,000. These Earmarks are listed under the Federal Register/Vol. 71, No. 23 published Friday, February 3, 2006 (page 5940). Federal funds must generally be matched by a 20% local share contribution. This project is no exception and will receive equal 10 percent matching funds from New York State ($290,312.50) and Nassau County ($290,312.50). Including all matching funds the total grant award would be $2,903,125. Nassau County is proposing to use the majority of the FFY 2006 funds ($1,322,500 Federal) in conjunction with FFY 2007 – FFY 2009 earmarks to provide the financing base for hiring a consultant to conduct an AA/EIS for the Nassau Hub. The balance of the funds will supplement existing FTA grants allocated to support the hiring of a Program Manager Contractor to provide Nassau County with the broad range of technical support needed to successfully manage the AA/EIS.