The key to getting your hands on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) money is to circumvent the feds as much as possible.

As one of four cities in Arizona that are self-certified with the FHWA, Phoenix manages projects funded by federal monies that trickle down to their level. Although the city must submit a design concept and environmental review to the Arizona Department of Transportation before going to bid, being self-certificated shaves two years from the approval process, says consultant Mark Danelowitz. A former Arizona DOT employee, Danelowitz also helped Tempe, Tucson, and Pima County self-certify, and predicts that Chandler, Mesa, and Scottsdale will be certified by the end of the year.

"In 1991, not even the state of Arizona was certified," Danelowitz says. "All funding came directly from FHWA."

In addition to being certified, Phoenix submits about 30 grant applications annually for:

Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grants: Projects that qualify include pedestrian and bicycle paths, adding a right-or -left-hand turn lane to a street (federal funds can't be used for general-purpose lanes), and installing wireless equipment at traffic lights (because such "intelligent transportation" technology improves air quality).

Bridge Rehabilitation grants. The city has numerous canals.

Monies other cities received but didn't use before annual close-out. "We've gotten a bunch of money like that," says Phoenix traffic engineering supervisor Raimundo Dovalina Jr. "It's easy money. But you have to have all your paperwork ready to go."

Session: "How to Successfully Use Federal Funding for Transportation Projects"

Raimundo Dovalina Jr., P.E.
Traffic Engineering Supervisor, Phoenix
Mark Danelowitz, PE
Vice president
Danelowitz and Associates Inc.
Mesa, Ariz.
Mon., Sept. 10, 2007
10:30 a.m.-noon

This article is part of PUBLIC WORKS magazine's live coverage from the 2007 APWA Show. Click here to read more articles from the show.