Why does NCDOT produce a State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)?
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is required by both federal and state law to put together a multi-year plan that identifies the construction funding for and scheduling of transportation projects throughout the state.
How often does NCDOT produce a STIP?
Federal law requires a STIP at least every four years. NCDOT update this plan every two years to ensure it accurately reflects our current financial situation.
What time period is covered by the STIP?
The STIP covers a 10-year period – 2016 to 2025. The first five years of the document is known as the Delivery STIP, and the last five years of the document cover what is considered the development period. It outlines the projects that NCDOT plans to work on during that timeframe.
Why does NCDOT produce a 10-year plan?
Most major projects require more than five years before construction to plan, design, acquire right of way and permits as well as relocate utilities. Projects in the development period (the last five years of the STIP) are intended to let the public know what NCDOT has started work on for the delivery portion of a future STIP.
What does it mean if a project is scheduled in the development period?
Since the STIP is updated every two years, a project that is included in the first five years of the program has a greater certainty of being delivered as it is scheduled. Projects in the developmental period will have planning and design work done, so they might be scheduled within a future five-year window of time for delivery.
If a particular project is not included in the current STIP, when can it be resubmitted for scoring?
The STIP is updated every two years, so projects can be resubmitted during the next round of prioritization, which will take place in fall 2015.
How is NCDOT able to program so many more projects with the same resources?
The data-driven process relies on specific criteria to identify and score transportation needs across the state. As a result, a number of smaller, lower-cost-but-high-benefit improvements, such as interchanges, scored well and were programmed in the STIP.
About $200 million each year was shifted to be used for capital improvements by more clearly defining how the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund budgets can be used. The Highway Fund is used for maintenance and operations activities (routine work to take care of the transportation system). The Highway Trust Fund budget, which includes both federal and state dollars, is for system capital improvements (e.g., highway widening, ferry replacement, safety project).
How was the projected jobs number calculated?
NCDOT used the economic analysis model known as TREDIS to calculate the number of jobs that are projected to be created by highway projects in the STIP.
TREDIS measures short-term and long-term employment impacts generated by the highway project, both of which account for direct, indirect and induced jobs. Short-term employment impacts are excluded for generating an economic score in DOT’s prioritization process, since they likely disappear after the project is complete.
Typically, the more expensive the project, the more short-term jobs are created, regardless of where the projects are located.
Long-term employment impacts are considered more important to show the longer-term economic ripple effect due to the highway investment. This calculation is over a 30-year period.
No known economic model can conclusively predict the future and account for all factors associated with future economic conditions. More than 40 U.S. and Canadian government agencies, however, have successfully used the TREDIS model to assess economic impacts of transportation projects.
If a project is in the schedule, does that mean construction will start in the time period that STIP covers?
A project might be scheduled for construction to begin within the STIP's 10-year period covered. It also could be in the program for funding for another phase of the project, such as right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation or mitigation if needed prior to construction. The actual construction date will be determined by the preconstruction process to get the project ready and the available budget at that time.
What might cause a project’s schedule to change?
There are a number of steps that must be completed before a project ever goes to construction. NCDOT also works with a number of partners at the local, state and federal levels, as well as utility companies and landowners. Some of examples of what could necessitate a change in schedule include design modifications, funding or property acquisition taking longer than expected.
Do project schedules change each time a new STIP is completed?
NCDOT strives to keep projects on schedule, but the schedules can change for various reasons – such as design changes or the need to balance funding based on revenues.
If a project is in the STIP, does that mean it is fully funded?
A project does not have to be fully funded to be in the STIP. A particular phase or phases of a project – such as right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, mitigation or part of the total construction costs – may be funded.
Can a project schedule be accelerated based on actions by a local government or Metropolitan/Rural Planning Organization?
Local government participation can positively affect a project’s schedule. Reducing the amount of NCDOT funds required to construct a project makes it easier to fund. There is also a legal provision that allows a local government to loan NCDOT the funding needed to construct a project sooner than the STIP schedule. That schedule, however, would be dependent on whether the necessary preconstruction work – such as environmental documents, permits, final design and right-of-way acquisition – could be completed within that accelerated time frame.
How can modifications be made to the STIP?
The STIP can be changed by Administrative Modifications or Amendment. Amendments require approval by the North Carolina Board of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as any affected Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Local planning organizations agree to the projects within their jurisdiction and approve their local STIP. If the local planning organizations agree to and approve the change to their local STIP, the board would then need to approve the change and submit it to the state legislature for information. The U.S. Department of Transportation would give final approval on the change.
If additional funding becomes available, how does that affect the STIP?
The STIP is based on the revenue forecast at the time it is developed. If that forecast increases or decreases, NCDOT will amend the STIP accordingly.
For example, the North Carolina General Assembly, in September 2015, passed the 2015-2017 state budget (House Bill 97) that took steps resulting in an estimated $1.6 billion for transportation construction. Since the 2016-2025 STIP was developed based on the 10-year revenue forecast in August 2014, new projects will be identified for funding based on the updated revenue forecast.
What do the letters before the STIP number mean?
The letter prior to STIP ID numbers provides an indication of the type of project. For example, an "I" indicates a project is on an interstate route and a "B" indicates a bridge replacement.
The STIP book contains an index page for both highway and non-highway projects in each division section to explain the letter, fund source, funding category, work type, etc.
What do the letters after the STIP number mean?
These letters are how NCDOT tracks a project over time. They are assigned in sequential order.
Are the funding amounts for a year determined by the amount spent or the projected cost?
The estimated cost for right of way, utilities, environmental mitigation and construction costs are identified in the year that the funding is authorized.
If a project is dropped from the program for any reason, how would NCDOT choose the project to take its place?
The SPOT prioritization process is updated every two years. Both new projects and existing projects subject to reprioritization would be scored and considered for funding in the next STIP cycle.
How closely does each year’s programmed budget reflect the allocation defined in the STI law?
The legislation requires NCDOT to program within plus or minus 10 percent of each category allocation.