AASHTO Journal, 16 May 2014
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials announced this week that the department is already seeing the benefits of a new strategy to prioritize transportation projects, adding more projects than expected while increasing transparency and efficiency.
Last June, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Strategic Mobility Formula, which awards projects with funding that are ranked as the highest priorities by NCDOT instead of allocating funds equally to all highway department divisions (see related AASHTO Journal story here). The formula focuses on a tiered approach in transportation improvements, as the state will receive 40 percent of available funding ($6 billion) while the regional and division levels will each get 30 percent of available funding ($4.5 billion apiece) over the next 10 years.
This week, NCDOT officials said the prioritization process is already working, as the department has added 500 new highway projects and 1,300 multimodal projects to the 1,300 highway projects already identified last March. At least 370 of those projects, NCDOT says, could be scheduled within the next 10 years, more than double what the state could have accomplished under the old project funding strategy.
“The initial data show the formula is doing exactly what it was designed to do — allowing us to build more projects across the state, which will ultimately create more jobs in North Carolina,” NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement. “These projects will help address critical local transportation needs while better connecting small towns to key economic centers.”
NCDOT will open a 90-day comment period on June 2 to gain feedback on the project data, while metropolitan planning organizations, rural planning organizations, and division engineers will assign points to each project based off that input, which will ultimately rank the projects. NCDOT will use that final project ranking list generated by the formula to create its next State Transportation Improvement Program.
Additional information on NCDOT’s Strategic Mobility Formula is available here.