New plan developed for DOT projectsPublished 8:00am Monday, April 22, 2013
RALEIGH – It’s new and it promises to strategically distribute funding for statewide transportation projects in a better fashion.
On Thursday, Governor Pat McCrory introduced a new proposal for funding transportation projects, saying they would “accelerate North Carolina’s infrastructure investments and encourage greater economic growth.”
The strategic mobility formula would allow the N.C. Department of Transportation to use existing funds more efficiently, significantly increasing the number of projects to better connect economic regions and create more jobs.
“We need a strategic way to connect all North Carolinians to greater opportunities in a way that gives us the most bang for our limited dollars,” Governor McCrory said in a press release. “We want to ensure that all of our people have access to jobs, quality education, health care and recreation.”
NCDOT estimates the strategic mobility formula will fund at least 260 projects and create more than 240,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The formula is data driven, incorporates more local feedback and allows all modes of transportation to compete for funding.
The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald attempted to contact Division 1 DOT officials to see how this new formula will impact the counties of northeastern North Carolina. Our phone call was not returned.
However, it is known that Division 1 – which includes the counties of Northampton, Martin, Bertie, Hertford, Gates, Chowan, Washington, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Tyrrell and Hyde – will be paired with Division 4 – Halifax, Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Johnston and Wayne counties – to form a strategic region.
The new strategic mobility formula takes a tiered approach that aligns available funding with the state’s greatest transportation priorities. Under the new formula, 40 percent of funding over the next 10 years is allocated to the statewide level, with an additional 40 percent allocated to the regional level and the remaining 20 percent allocated to the division level.
“With our population growing rapidly and transportation revenues continuing to decline, we have to be efficient and strategic in the way we fund, distribute and prioritize projects that are aligned with commerce,” NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata said. “The strategic mobility formula increases our ability to have the highest impact and address the greatest needs.”
NCDOT is working closely with the Department of Commerce to invest in infrastructure that will help attract, retain and grow business in North Carolina.
“Collaboration across agencies is critical if we are going to transform our state’s economy,” said Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “We need to think differently and work together in innovative ways to make a lasting impact in all areas of our state.”
“Making impactful change requires strong collaboration,” added McCrory. “Government agencies working in silos doesn’t work for the people of North Carolina.”
According to info on the NCDOT website, the Strategic Mobility Formula is driven by data and local input. All modes compete for funding.
Projects that address traffic congestion and bottlenecks of regional or statewide significance will receive 40% of the available revenue, totaling $6.4 billion over 10 years.
The project selection process will be 100% data-driven, meaning the department will base its decisions on hard facts such as crash statistics and traffic volumes.
Projects that will increase access and mobility for entire regions of the state will receive 40% of the available revenue, equaling $6.4 billion over a decade based on regional population. Projects on this level compete within specific regions made up of two NCDOT Transportation Divisions. NCDOT will select applicable projects for funding using two weighted factors. Data will comprise 70% of the decision-making process and local rankings by area planning organizations will round out the remaining 30% at this level.
Projects that will reduce localized congestion, improve safety concerns and increase connectivity will receive 20% of the available revenue shared equally over NCDOT’s 14 Transportation Divisions. That totals $3.2 billion over 10 years.
The department will choose projects based 50% on data and 50% on local rankings.
There are many benefits to implementing the proposed Strategic Mobility Formula. NCDOT’s current 10-year plan includes 175 projects and creates 174,000 jobs. Using the same amount of funding, the new formula would fund at least 260 projects and creates more than 240,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
The initiative will be effective when it becomes law. DOT will assess projects on a case-by-case basis. Projects already scheduled for construction between now and when the new processes are fully functional will remain funded.