RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation wants to hear from North Carolinians about top-priority transportation projects that they think should be submitted to compete with other transportation improvements across the state for funding in the next the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is NCDOT's 10-year transportation plan, and it is updated every two years. The N.C. Board of Transportation approved the current STIP, for year 2016 to 2025, in June.
The Strategic Transportation Investments law established the Strategic Mobility Formula, which uses a data-driven approach to funding transportation improvements on the statewide, regional and local (division) levels. This allows NCDOT to meet the state's top priorities while still addressing individualized local transportation needs.
In the coming weeks, each of the 14 NCDOT transportation divisions will submit its transportation priorities for funding, and is asking area residents for their input on those projects. Residents can also submit proposals for projects, which can be as large-scale as an interstate improvement or as small as a new turn lane or intersection improvement. Proposals can be for any mode of transportation, including public transit, bicycle/pedestrian, ferry, aviation and rail.
Maintenance projects such as patching potholes and resurfacing, however, undergo a separate priority ranking process. They are not a subject of these meetings.
"We encourage area residents to let us know what they think of the projects we are considering for submittal," said Division 14 Engineer Ed Green. "While input from the public is important and taken into consideration throughout the nearly two years it takes to update the STIP, now at the beginning of that process -is when they can have the most impact on determining which projects may receive funding in the future."
How to Provide Your Input
During a 30-day public comment period from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, each transportation division will host open houses to meet with local residents and obtain feedback regarding transportation priorities. Division 14, which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain, and Transylvania counties, will host two. The first will be Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Macon County Community Building Multipurpose Room, 1288 Georgia Road in Franklin. The second is Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Kaplan Auditorium in the Henderson County Library, 301 North Washington Street in Hendersonville. Residents can drop in anytime during those events to learn more about the projects the division proposes to submit for prioritization and provide feedback on them. The list of projects can be viewed here.
In addition, written comments can be submitted via email to NCDOT Division 14 Operations Engineer Joel Setzer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 828-586-2141. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Local planning organizations across the state also submit a list of projects to be scored. For information about the projects your Metropolitan Planning Organizati