S.S. Canadiana ISTEA Awards

As used in the other Canadiana Pages, ISTEA stands for "Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act". ~ This is 1991 Bush Administration Legislation. ~ For a certain time period it requires States to distribute ten percent of the Transportation Funds they receive from the Federal Government, to purposes that meet the criteria spelled out in the Act. ~ These are, in a nutshell, items that improve the quality of life and are designed to apply to everyone equally. ~ They are to create jobs and economic development, cultural enhancement, environmental protection, education, tourism, acquisition of and access to scenic beauty, and the preservation of our history. ~ The requirement is that projects must meet at least two of the above purposes and must be transportation related. ~ A sailing S. S. Canadiana can apply itself to all areas. ~ The criteria fits like a glove.

New York State set up an autonomous review board to judge the merits of the various applicants for these ISTEA funds. ~ It was designed specifically to meet Federal criteria only and is as far from political "pork" as you can get with government funds. ~ Even before we received the award, we recognized it as one of the nicest pieces of legislation to ever come out of the federal government in the sense that it was designed to provide the most benefit to the most people, across the board and with no qualifications attached. ~ This is what governments should be doing all the time.

As a non-governmental organization, our group needed to obtain "sponsorship" from any New York State governmemt or agency. ~ This sponsorship provided us with the needed "officialdom" as required by New York State. ~ They just don't hand over $400,000.00 without some supervision. ~ Sponsors are required to handle bidding proceedures, oversee environmental concerns, insure the expenses are legitimate, etc. ~ We could have asked any city, town, village, parks department, etc. ~ We asked the City of Buffalo and they accepted the job.

The review board is comprised of professionals with working ties to the areas of the ISTEA criteria. ~ They are educators, environmentalists, etc. ~ These people, from across the state, review all the cases presented to them and rate each according to a point system. ~ Applicants end up in a rank based on the size of their request, the amount of money the applicants themselves will supply, the number of criteria the applicant connects with, the amount of broad-based appeal the project can demonstrate and various other details such as having a self-sustaining ISTEA roll over ability, projects that are in immediate need and where applicable, as in this case, the project must also be included in the Municipal Planning Organizations Master Plan for their area.

The S. S. Canadiana has it all and came out on top. ~ Our application for $400,000.00 was awarded and was the largest single amount of available funds. ~ From over 100 applicants, we were chosen number one with thirty three other recipients. ~ These professional individuals, who comprised the review board, took six full months to learn and study the details. They saw all that the Canadiana was and all it could offer our area and so they chose to send the money to us here in Buffalo and Western New York.


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