Archived Story

DOT releases data for highway projects

Published 9:46am Thursday, April 3, 2014

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation on Tuesday released the initial data for nearly 1,300 highway projects based on criteria contained in the new Strategic Mobility Formula (SMF).

These projects are already in the department’s database and were either scheduled to begin construction after July 1, 2015 or not scheduled at all. The data does not include newly submitted highway projects or multi-modal projects, which will be analyzed in the coming months. Providing this initial data is the first step in the process to fully implement the new formula established in June 2013 by the Strategic Transportation Investments Law.

As expected, the largest cluster of projects are in and around the state’s major cities – Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. The only two local projects listed on the SMF map were a small section of US 13 south of Ahoskie and a 17-mile stretch of US 258 between Murfreesboro and Rich Square.

“While the data is just an initial snapshot of how the Strategic Mobility Formula would benefit our state, the process is achieving our primary goals of reducing travel time, minimizing congestion, increasing safety, growing jobs, and enhancing multi-modal connections and freight movement,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said. “More importantly, it’s clear that no matter how we prioritize our investments, we don’t have enough funding available to meet our state’s growing transportation demands.”

The new formula allows North Carolina to maximize its existing transportation revenues. It is data-driven to increase transparency and minimize subjectivity in the project selection process. Local priorities will be well represented, as 60 percent of the available funding is directed to projects at the regional and division levels. The remaining 40 percent goes to projects addressing statewide needs.

The initial data released Tuesday does not determine whether a project will ultimately be programmed or funded. Making it available allows NCDOT to receive feedback from planning organizations across the state and shows continued transparency in the process to implement the new law.

In addition to the initial data, the department will release in May, at the earliest, the data for about 500 new highway projects submitted by the March 3 deadline by transportation planning organizations and NCDOT Divisions. During that same timeframe, NCDOT will also evaluate the non-highway projects, which are analyzed separately but will be considered along with highway projects for funding.

NCDOT will then receive local input to rank the regional and division level projects during a 90-day period. Once all final project scores and rankings are established, the department will program the projects in order of importance and other required project considerations such as the completion of environmental and engineering plans, corridor spending caps, and federal and state funding restrictions.

NCDOT will use the final project rankings generated by the new formula to create the next State Transportation Improvement Program, which is set to be adopted by June 2015.

More information on the Strategic Transportation Investments law and how the new formula works is available online at www.ncdot.gov/strategictransportationinvestments.

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