The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) identifies the construction funding for and scheduling of transportation projects at the state level over a 10-year period. Although federal law requires the STIP to be updated every four years, the N.C. Department of Transportation proactively updates it every two years to ensure it accurately reflects the state's current financial situation.
The Strategic Transportation Investments law also mandates ongoing evaluation and improvement to ensure the process continues to be responsive to North Carolina's diverse needs. This is accomplished through what is known as the prioritization work group, which is primarily comprised of professional engineers and transportation planners.
The data-driven process to update the STIP – called strategic prioritization – began in fall 2015 when NCDOT and local planning organizations asked for public feedback on and later submitted projects to be evaluated for the 2018-2027 STIP.
NCDOT has released the preliminary scores for projects it evaluated for the 2018-2027 STIP. The scoring is based on criteria established in the STI law. The preliminary scoring includes the projects that are anticipated to be funded at the statewide mobility level – one of three categories in which NCDOT distributes funding.
Strategic mobility projects are scored 100 percent based on data and receive 40 percent of available revenue.
Projects that were evaluated and received a preliminary score include:
- Projects in the last five years of the 2016-2025 STIP (the current STIP) – these projects are in the developmental stages. (Projects in the first five years of the STIP are committed for funding and are not subject to being reprioritized.)
- Projects submitted as part of the development of the 2016-2025 STIP but were not funded.
- New projects that local planning organizations and NCDOT division submitted in fall 2015.
Releasing all project scores together helps local planning organizations and local NCDOT divisions make decisions on how to rank projects at the regional and division levels. Projects that did not score high enough to be funded in the statewide category can be considered and potentially funded at either the regional or division category. Projects in these categories are scored and ranked based on data as well as local input.
A map showing committed projects and the draft statewide mobility projects can be viewed below or can be found here.
From April 18 to July 29, NCDOT’s 14 divisions – as well as metropolitan and regional planning organizations – will each hold public meetings on how they plan to rank local priorities, which involves assigning what are called "local input points." Each group has established clear methodologies in determining how to assign local input points as required by law.
Based on feedback from the public meetings, the three groups separately will assign local input points to projects at the regional level. NCDOT will then combine the local input points assigned by each group to generate the total score for each project. Total scores for regional projects are scheduled to be released in summer 2016.
A similar process will then take place later this summer for division-level projects.
Once all project scores are finalized, the top-scoring projects will be scheduled based on available funding and other factors. These factors include the completion of environmental studies and engineering plans, corridor spending caps, and federal and state funding restrictions.
This information will then be used to create the next STIP for the years 2018-2027.
NCDOT will circulate a draft of the STIP for public comment beginning in January 2017. The final STIP is expected to be adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation in June 2017.