Asheville - State transportation officials want to hear from the public on what regional and local transportation projects should be top priorities in the next version of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) - the 10-year plan that identifies funding for projects and schedules them for construction. Data and local input are used to determine which projects get built based on a funding formula championed by Governor Pat McCrory to reduce congestion, increase safety and promote economic growth.
During a public comment period that began June 20 and runs until July 22, each of NCDOT's 14 local transportation divisions will host an informal public meeting to present proposed projects and to receive feedback.
Division 14, which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania counties, will hold its meetings on two different evenings in two different locations. The first will be held Monday, July 11, from 5-7 p.m. at the Henderson County Government Annex Building, 100 N. King Street. The second will be held at the same time on Thursday, July 14, at the Macon County Community Building 1288 Georgia Road.
During these times, citizens are invited to stop in and provide input on how the division plans to rank its project priorities. Please note that these meetings are not for maintenance-related projects, such as patching potholes, resurfacing or ditches.
Attending a meeting isn't necessary to comment. Comments can also be submitted online through an interactive survey, or by calling Division 14 Project Manager Wanda Austin at (828) 631-1146, or by mail at 253 Webster Road, Sylva, NC 28779.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for anyone who is disabled who wants to participate in this meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact the division contact for the meeting they plan to attend as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.
Following the comment period, the division will carefully consider the public input while determining its final project rankings.
The Strategic Transportation Investments Law, which established the funding formula being used to develop the STIP, became law in 2013. The new formula was used for the first time to develop the 2016-2015 STIP, which was approved in June 2015 and resulted in 300 more projects being funded than under the old funding formula. NCDOT updates the STIP every two years to ensure it accurately reflects the state's current financial situation.