FY 2022 Community Project Funding Requests

Rep. Colin Allred has submitted funding requests for important community projects in Texas’ 32 Congressional District to the House Appropriations Committee.

Under guidelines issued by the Appropriations Committee, each Representative may request funding for up to 10 projects in their community for fiscal year 2022 – although only a handful may actually be funded. Projects are restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities are permitted to receive funding. Additional information on the reforms governing Community Project Funding is available here.

In compliance with House Rules and Committee requirements, Rep. Allred has certified that he, his spouse, and his immediate family have no financial interest in any of the projects he has requested.

 

Projects listed in alphabetical order:

 

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Brute Force Electric Central Utility Plant

Amount Requested: $98,000,000

Recipient(s): Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport, 2400 Aviation Dr., DFW Airport, TX 75261

DFW’s existing Energy Plaza Central Utility Plant (CUP#1) was built in the early 1970s, and its heating and cooling systems have reached capacity. To address current and future heating and cooling demand, improve resiliency, maximize efficiency, and position itself to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2030, DFW proposes to construct a new Brute Force Electric Central Utility Plant (CUP#2) and replace its aging steam piping distribution system with a highly efficient hot water piping system.

DFW Airport is one of the primary economic drivers for North Texas, pumping $37 billion dollars each year into the local economy. The Airport also supports over 228,000 full-time jobs in the region and over $12 billion in payroll for those jobs. Furthermore, DFW is one of the world’s busiest airports. In FY2019, DFW served 73 million passengers, a jump of six percent from the 67 million served in 2018. 

DFW Airport is an integral component of the regional economy and transportation network. The new Central Utility Plant (CUP) will serve the Central Terminal Area and other mission-critical facilities. By enhancing capacity and restoring redundancy of heating and cooling systems, the new CUP will improve DFW Airport’s resiliency. It will also serve the needs of long-term growth and enable future terminal expansion. 

The project will also improve regional air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region as a nonattainment area for ozone under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (ozone NAAQS). To continue progressing toward attainment, DFW Airport plays a role in reducing regional ozone through its reductions of ozone precursor emissions, including NOx and VOCs. The transition to zero-emission electricity for heating in the new CUP will reduce ozone precursor emissions by 85%.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Center for Applied Research in Mobility and Autonomy (CARMA)

Amount Requested: $1,000,000

Recipient(s): The University of Texas at Dallas,  800 W. Campbell Rd. Richardson, Texas 75080

CARMA will bring together university, civic, and industry partners to advance the fields of mobility and autonomy for the transformative changes underway in the movement of people, goods, and services in this century. The confluence of advanced artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, sensors, communications, virtual and mixed reality, high precision mapping, logistics systems, long-life battery systems, lighter-weight materials, rapid prototyping and fabrication systems is leading to a future when the way people and things will move from point A to B in a neighborhood, city, or state will dramatically change. This project will provide CARMA essential physical infrastructure including workstations, 3D rapid prototyping, a drone flight test field, and sensor/communications technology for an autonomous commercial delivery test track.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST) Pediatric Mental Health Innovation Center

Amount Requested: $850,000

Recipient(s): Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST), 6601 S. Lancaster Road, Dallas, Texas 75241

CHST’s new Pediatric Mental Health Innovation Center would serve children that have mild to moderate depression and anxiety and who currently are not being treated for their mental health needs, with the Center projecting to serve 50,000 children annually. Pediatric mental health issues are negatively affecting as many as 600,000 of the two million children across North Texas today including 175,000 children in Dallas County alone. Funding for a new Pediatric Mental Health Innovation Center would be a timely and beneficial response to the growing pediatric mental health crisis occurring in Texas.

Mental Health America recently ranked Texas last among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for youth access to mental health care. According to its 2019 report, “The State of Mental Health in America,” 71.3% of youth in Texas with major depression go untreated, compared with the national average of 61.5%. Current community behavioral and mental health resources are already stretched thin in North Texas and unable to accommodate the overwhelming need, which has only worsened since the onset. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reports that there are close to 15 million U.S. children who need mental health services, while there are only about 8,300 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide. Pediatric mental health issues lead to a cascade of short-term and long-term challenges for patients. Simply put, it is more economical and better for a person’s quality of life to address mental health issues as soon as possible.

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST) Pediatric Mental Health Staff

Amount Requested: $860,000

Recipient(s): Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST), 1935 Medical District Drive, Dallas, Texas 75235

The Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST) is requesting $860,000 to hire a pediatric psychiatrist and up to 8 licensed social workers to expand mental health services for patients in the emergency room, decrease time from arrival to the ED to evaluation and treatment, and to improve facilitation of transfer to a pediatric inpatient psychiatric facility. With an estimated 600,000 of the two million children across North Texas having mental health needs, including 175,000 children in Dallas County alone, CHST is working to address the prevalence of mental health needs and limited access to care in high-risk and underserved communities. The Dallas Fort Worth metroplex does not have an adequate number of inpatient pediatric psychiatric beds to meet the growing needs of the pediatric population, which has resulted in prolonged boarding in an already crowded emergency room, delay in treatment, and decreased ED throughput. Children’s Health as a system served 4,093 in-patient mental health patients in 2019 and 4,094 patients in 2020, all of which would benefit from increased access to mental health professionals.

Increasing the capability and capacity to mental health services is essential to ensure Dallas-area children receive the highest-quality mental and behavioral care and have better outcomes. This project will ultimately reduce health care costs and strain on the system through prevention and early intervention for high-risk and underserved communities and for disenfranchised children like victims of abuse or those in the foster care system. The COVID-19 crisis has increased pediatric mental health issues and deepened existing health inequities. Research shows rates of clinical depression and suicidal thoughts were rising among Black children nationally in recent years, even before the pandemic. This urgent mental health crisis will only become more prevalent and more complex without more pediatric mental health care providers. Federal funding would directly benefit Dallas-area children in critical need of increased mental health services.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

COVID-19 Student Impact Project

Amount Requested: $400,000

Recipient(s): The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W. Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75080

This study will identify which college students in Texas have been most affected by COVID-19, where educational inequities have been exacerbated, and which institutional efforts show promise in retaining, supporting, and re-enrolling college students.

The study will draw on administrative records from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to quantitatively analyze postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completions patterns of Texas public high school graduates before, during and after the pandemic. This study will disaggregate quantitative findings by: (a) student demographic and academic characteristics (e.g. race/ethnicity, low-income, major), (b) institutional characteristics (e.g. sector, region), and (c) modes of instructional delivery (e.g. in-person, hybrid, online). Quantitative analyses will shed light on how Texas college students have responded to the pandemic, specifically to changes in the way their colleges are delivering instruction and support services. Quantitative findings will inform a qualitative study component that will examine innovative instructional and support strategies implemented by a select number of Texas four- and two-year institutions that have experienced marginal declines in student enrollment or success during the pandemic.

The study will produce a series of short reports that distill the findings from this analysis as data become available and analysis can be conducted and appropriately reviewed. The first report will focus on shifts in enrollment patterns through the Fall 2020 semester. The second report will document shifts in course modality and student success. The final report will highlight institutional support strategies that show promise in staving off declines in enrollment and success in a predominately online environment. Each report will be written with policymakers, legislators and practitioners as the target audiences and include an appendix describing the study’s methodology and more detailed findings.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

DFW Airport Flyover Bridge Replacement and Conversion Project

Amount Requested: $135,900,000

Recipient(s): Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport, 2400 Aviation Dr. DFW Airport, TX 75261

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is seeking funding assistance to replace four seriously deficient and vulnerable left-hand flyover ramps with new right-hand exit bridges (Terminals A, B, C and E). The existing left-hand flyover ramps are the only efficient means to access the DFW terminals, and the impending failure of the flyovers as they reach the end of their useful life threatens the integrity of DFW’s transportation network and its ability to serve passengers. DFW looks to go beyond simply replacing its deteriorating infrastructure in-kind and plans to pursue a more direct and intuitive terminal access configuration that will meet the long-term needs of the airport.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Learning Loss Program for Underserved Students 

Amount Requested: $890,000

Recipient(s): Southern Methodist University, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205

Need: Students in Dallas ISD have experienced learning losses as a result of COVID-19 related changes in the format and schedule for education over the past year. This loss has been especially difficult for low-income students and new English learners in the areas of mathematics and literacy. A collaborative distance learning model and technology infrastructure is needed to provide resources for students and families to address learning losses in mathematics and literacy and return students to pre-COVID levels of achievement.

Opportunity: Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and game-based learning can help students address learning losses for complex and abstract concepts by communicating and collaborating virtually using hand motions (gestures) to manipulate virtual objects together and view phenomena from various perspectives that are not possible in current remote and physically spaced learning environments (Johnson-Glenberg et al., 2014). This is because mathematical thinking has been shown to be embodied in relation to perception, action, spatial systems and physical motions (Alibali & Nathan, 2012) that are difficult for students to imagine but can be demonstrated through AR and VR.

Game-based learning can also address learning losses by engaging students in fun activities that support personalized and collaborative learning. These embodied and collaborative gamebased learning elements have been especially difficult to support in the current remote and physically spaced learning environments. New forms of commercially available AR and VR technology support shared holographic augmented reality (shAR) learning where groups of students can collaborate with teachers and other students in 3D virtual spaces from any location with strong internet connections to manipulate and reason about mathematical  concepts and principles in ways that are important for embodied cognition. AR and VR technologies can address learning loss in mathematics and literacy, especially for low-income students and English learners, by providing a model for immersive, interactive collaborative technology-supported learning that helps make abstract concepts more concrete.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Resource Center Senior Housing

Amount Requested: $1,000,000

Recipient(s): Resource Center of Dallas, Inc., 5713-5723 Sadler Circle, Dallas, TX 75235

LGBTQ seniors face unique barriers, including decades of systemic discrimination and a lack of culturally competent, LGBTQ-friendly facilities and services. Furthermore, LGBTQ seniors have an increased risk of social isolation, depression, suicide, and an array of other specific health concerns. These risks are compounded by variables such as severance from family of origin and the detrimental physical, emotional, and fiscal effects of long-term discrimination. Lastly, the population of LGBTQ seniors is on the rise in metropolitan areas, and with a lack of affirming and affordable housing in Dallas, elder LGBTQ adults are an increasingly vulnerable population.

To meet the growing demand for care and services for the aging LGBTQ population in the Dallas community, Resource Center (the Center) proposes a $4 million capital campaign for the construction of an LGBTQ-friendly affordable senior housing facility. The Center, which serves more people than any other LGBTQ organization in North Texas, has partnered with a housing developer in order to construct the facility in the predominantly LGBTQ Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas.

Like the rest of the country, North Texas is on the precipice of the largest growth in its aging population in history. With this surge, comes an increased need for affordable LGBTQ-friendly housing communities. The Center fully expects the affordable LGBTQ-friendly housing development to bridge the gap between affordable housing and low-moderate income LGBTQ elders and elders of color: the Center estimates the demographic profile of LGBTQ-friendly senior housing residents will be 36% Caucasian, 33% African-American, 28% Hispanic/Latinx, and 3% Multi-racial; 70% will have household incomes less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, and 30% less than 200%. (Based on current programming trends, as well as poverty data from the City of Dallas.)

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Southern Methodist University Human Trafficking Project

Amount Requested: $1,187,000

Recipient(s): Southern Methodist University, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205

The SMU Human Trafficking Project proposes to directly address the deficiencies in data collection and analysis and in collaboration of expertise needed to effectively fight human trafficking in Texas. We will do this through compilation of the anti-trafficking stakeholders’ data and research needs, the collection of human trafficking literature and data, the use of human computation gaming, machine learning, and visualization of human trafficking data in Texas, the dissemination of human trafficking data and research by expert research teams, and the consultation to stakeholders involved in anti-human trafficking work.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

UTSW Center for Implementation Science, School of Public Health

Amount Requested: $1,000,000

Recipient(s):  University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75390

The nation’s strongest public health schools—simultaneously equipped to advance discoveries and grow an adequate public health workforce to address these health challenges—are generally housed within flagship universities that include medical, social sciences, engineering, business, and a broad variety of other programs. Texas’ historic model of separate general academic and health-related institutions has resulted in establishing a limited number of schools of public health in the state. Our state needs a research-intensive school dedicated to leading future advances in scientific methods to address population health challenges that can be leveraged into accessible evidence-based input for policymakers as they navigate chronic and emerging public health crises.

The rapidly growing catchment area of Dallas and 13 contiguous counties—the fastest-growing Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S.—also lacks a sizable school suited to train our region’s needed practitioners, improve health outcomes, and instill public health security. In general, Texas lags in Public Health expertise and, like many governments, has been ill-equipped to respond to COVID-19. The workforce skilled in public health management—preventive interventions, epidemiologic crisis response, surveillance, and real-time analysis of trends data, contact tracing, and public health outreach—is insufficient. Texas accounts for ~9% of the US population, but only 3.5% of new graduates with Masters of Public Health (MPH) degrees. Further, Texas has the fewest MPH graduates of the five most populous states.

Per capita, Texas is training fewer than 50% of public health graduates—who go on to practice and lead community health efforts—compared to Florida, and ~25% of the graduates of California, New York and Pennsylvania. This translates to more than 200 of 254 Texas counties without a public health professional trained to address needs in their communities.

Despite great progress in the science of medicine enabled by the federal government’s investment, emerging infectious diseases including West Nile, Ebola and now COVID-19 have had major impact on the nation’s health and economic security. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant vulnerabilities in our national public health infrastructure. Investing in the public health infrastructure now will help mitigate the risk and loss associated with future pandemics. Moreover, investment in public health will work to alleviate the burden of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – conditions that are related to behavioral risk factors and exacerbated by the COVID-19 virus. Finally, the COVID pandemic also exposed the dangers of many Americans’ lack of access to a healthcare system. Supporting a strong public health research enterprise and adding key public health professionals will help alleviate current and future health inequities.

Certification Stating No Financial Interest in This Project