Strategic Transportation Investments
Strategic Transportation Investments
The Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) Law (House Bill 817) allows NCDOT to maximize North Carolina’s existing transportation funding to enhance the state’s infrastructure and support economic growth, job creation and high quality of life. STI establishes the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of allocating available revenues based on data-driven scoring and local input.
STI Implementation Update
On Dec. 4, NCDOT released its Draft 10-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which schedules the projects proposed for full or partial funding across the state in the 2016-2025 STIP. This is one of the final steps toward implementing the new Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) law.
The draft document demonstrates that the law is working as intended. It includes a total of nearly 1,100 projects, touching every transportation mode and in every county across the state. It is one of our most comprehensive programs ever and will help improve connectivity, reduce congestion issues, enhance safety and strengthen our highways.
The Benefit: By the Numbers
Under the new formula, NCDOT will be able fund 300 more projects and create about 126,000 more jobs than under the old formula. This is a 273% increase in highway projects and a 172% increase in jobs compared to the old formula.
Using the new mobility formula over 10 years, NCDOT will fund:
- 478 highway projects
- 300,000 jobs
Using the same existing funds, the old formula would have produced:
- 175 highway projects
- 174,000 jobs
Other types of projects funded include:
- 140 non-highway projects
- 108 major transition projects scheduled to begin prior to July 1, 2015
- 389 interstate maintenance and bridge projects
- 17 safety projects
The Draft STIP includes a total of 1,073 projects in all 100 counties across the state because of the new law. For a detailed breakdown of the projects included in the Draft STIP, view this table.
Examples of the critical connections made possible in the Draft STIP by the new mobility formula include:
- Completing the Fayetteville Outer Loop to connect Fort Bragg to the strategic I-95 corridor and enhance mobility options for our military.
- Expanding U.S. 321 between Lenoir and Hickory, which will improve this key regional corridor and better connect the northwestern part of our state to Charlotte and I-85.
- Improving I-85 in Gaston County and removing the two-lane bottleneck in southern Rowan County, which will enhance this important route for commuters to Charlotte, as well as help move goods more efficiently to and from Charlotte and the Greenville-Spartanburg area.
- Expanding N.C. 211 to the coastal towns of Southport and Oak Island and improve their connection to the U.S. 17 corridor, which will help relieve congestion during the busy tourist season and improve an important evacuation route.
Several important projects did not score high enough on the statewide level to be funded, but they did cascade down to the regional and division levels. Because of strong local input, they competed successfully for funding on the local level.
- N.C. 24/27 widening in Stanly County – This project will widen to four lanes N.C. 24/27 from the existing four lanes in Albemarle to the Pee Dee River, as well as replace one of the two bridges that connects Stanly and Montgomery counties. Its regional score was helped, because both the Rural Planning Organization and division gave the project the maximum regional points.
- Mid-Currituck Bridge in Currituck County – This project will build a bridge between the Currituck County mainland and Corolla, which will address local needs by alleviating congestion on U.S. 158 and N.C. 12, and connect the Outer Banks to the Hampton Roads region in Virginia. Its division level score was helped, because both the RPO and division gave the project the maximum number of points.
Using the Draft STIP Project Viewer
The interactive map below shows the projects included in the Draft STIP.
Users should zoom in closely to see projects on the map. Then, they can click on the colored lines or icons to view details about each project via a pop-up window. Those details include a project description and the amount of funding programmed, as well as its STI funding category, where applicable.
Please note: Sign in is not required to use the map.
View larger map
NCDOT will hold a public comment period and public meetings in March and April to seek input on the Draft STIP. The Board of Transportation is expected to approve the Final 2016-2025 STIP in June 2015.
STI’s data-driven prioritization process helps us use Highway Trust Fund money more efficiently to program more projects. But, of the 3,100 projects submitted through STI, NCDOT will only have enough funding to program 559 projects, or 18 percent of the locally submitted needs.
With the implementation of the new STI law and mobility formula and Gov. McCrory’s 25-Year Vision in place to map our future and guide transportation investments over the next 25 years, NCDOT’s focus will now turn to investing in the vision. We plan to present targeted revenue recommendations to the General Assembly for action during the 2015 legislative session. Discussions about transportation funding will focus on the role of the state in supporting the costs of maintaining and building transportation infrastructure, as well as alternative funding solutions to support our growing state and make North Carolina even more economically competitive.
In May 2014, we released data for nearly 3,100 projects for highway and non-highway modes (Aviation, Rail, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Ferry and Public Transportation) across the state.
An additional 108 major projects are not subject to STI, because they were scheduled for construction before July 1, 2015. We will continue to move forward with those projects.
Both division engineers and MPOs and RPOs established clear methodologies for collecting public input and determining how they were going to assign local input points as required by law. After receiving the point submissions, NCDOT combined the local input points with data-driven technical points to calculate the final score for each project on the regional and division levels. Projects on the statewide level were previously scored using data only.
Then, the department’s STIP Unit used the scores along with other factors, including completion of environmental and engineering plans and corridor spending caps, to create the Draft STIP.
Why STI Is Important
North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing state in the country. At the same time, NCDOT’s major revenue sources – including the state gas tax and federal fuel tax share, the Highway Use Tax and DMV fees – no longer provide enough funding to pay for all the transportation improvements North Carolina needs to continue to thrive.
STI will allow us to use our existing resources more efficiently and effectively, helping us move forward with important projects to enhance mobility and revitalize communities throughout the state. The new process encourages us to think from a statewide and regional perspective while also providing flexibility to address local needs.
How It Works
The Strategic Mobility Formula funds projects in three categories:
Division Needs Category
Projects in this category will receive 30% of the available revenue, shared equally over NCDOT’s 14 Transportation Divisions, which are groupings of local counties. Project scores will be based 50% on data and 50% on local rankings by area planning organizations and the NCDOT Transportation Divisions.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to three criteria:
- Congestion (20%)
- Benefit/Cost (20%)
- Safety (10%)
Regional Impact Category
This category will receive 30% of available revenue. Projects on this level compete within regions made up of two NCDOT Transportation Divisions, with funding divided among the regions based on population. Data makes up 70% of the project scores in this category. Local rankings will account for the remaining 30%.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to four criteria:
- Congestion (25%)
- Benefit/Cost (25%)
- Safety (10%)
- Accessibility/Connectivity (10%)
Statewide Mobility Category
This category will receive 40% of available revenue. The project selection process will be based 100% on data.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to five criteria:
- Congestion (30%)
- Benefit/Cost (30%)
- Economic Competitiveness (10%)
- Safety (10%)
- Multimodal, Freight and Military (20%))
STI scoring, weights and criteria were developed in 2013 by a broad-based group of transportation professionals and stakeholders, adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation and reported to the N.C. General Assembly.
NOTE: Statewide Mobility projects are also analyzed separately in the Regional Impact and Division Needs categories and can cascade down to those categories for funding if they are not funded in the Statewide Category. Regional Impact projects can also cascade down to the Division Needs category.
A project’s benefit/cost can be improved if funding is provided during the project submission phase through local entity contributions or tolling approved by the local planning organization. In addition, a bonus allocation of up to 50% will be returned to the contributing area for a subsequent project scored through STI.
To provide more flexibility, STI allows regions and divisions to develop alternate criteria tailored to their individual needs. To do so, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Rural Planning Organizations and NCDOT Divisions within the region must unanimously agree to the alternate criteria.
Regions made up of NCDOT Divisions 1 and 4 and Divisions 2 and 3 chose to utilize this option and developed alternate Regional Impact and Division Needs criteria.
These photos show Governor McCrory and other state leaders explaining the benefits of the Strategic Mobility Formula during the April 18 announcement.