RALEIGH -The N.C. Department of Transportation today released the final scores for division and regional projects, based on criteria contained in the Strategic Mobility Formula, a project prioritization process established last year by the new Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) law. STI was created to make more efficient use of available funds, allowing for more local input and the ability to do more projects with limited dollars. These scores are not the final determination of which projects will be programmed, but will be considered along with other factors including completion of environmental and engineering plans and corridor spending caps to create the draft 10-year State Transportation Improvement Program.
"I want to commend our engineers and our planning partners for their close collaboration to help implement the new Strategic Transportation Investments law," NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata said. "The data appears to show the law is working as intended to fund moreprojectsand create more jobs, building vitaltransportationprojects that will help movepeopleandfreight, and better connect all North Carolinians to jobs, healthcare, education andrecreationcenters."
This is the latest step in the process to create the State Transportation Improvement Program. The scores released today will be used to allocate 60 percent of available funding to regional and division level projects. The remaining 40 percent goes to projects addressing statewide needs. The new formula is data-driven to increase transparency and minimize subjectivity in the project selection process.
Each of the department's 14 transportation divisions, and the metropolitan and rural planning organizations assigned points to local highway and non-highway mode projects, based on public input over the past several months. These local input points were combined 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.
"We worked closely with the MPOs and RPOs to determine which projects were priorities for our area and deserved local input points," said Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey in Winston-Salem. "We feel like this team approach worked well, because as the scores show, we both allotted the greatest numbers of points where the biggest needs are, which is the purpose of STI."
"In our efforts to implement the new law, we found the key in completing this step of the prioritization process to be collaboration," said Eastern Carolina Council Planning Director Patrick Flanagan, who manages the Down East RPO and serves as president of the N.C. Association of Rural Planning Organizations. "By working together with our local division engineers, we strategically determined how to assign our local input points and, at the same time, strengthened our partnership with NCDOT."
Now that the points have been totaled, NCDOT will schedule projects using those scores and other considerations such as the completion of environmental and engineering plans, corridor spending caps, adherence to annual budget constraints, thresholds for non-highway and highway projects, and accounting for alternate criteria projects to ultimately determine when individual projects can begin.
NCDOT will use this schedule to create the next State Transportation Improvement Program, which schedules the projects funded over the next 10 years. In addition to new projec