Strategic Transportation Investments
Strategic Transportation Investments
The Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) Law (House Bill 817) allows NCDOT to maximize North Carolina’s existing transportation funding to enhance the state’s infrastructure and support economic growth, job creation and high quality of life. STI establishes the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of allocating available revenues based on data-driven scoring and local input.
STI Implementation Update
NCDOT has released the final scores for division and regional projects, based on criteria contained in the Strategic Mobility Formula. The department will use the scores to help create the State Transportation Improvement Program, which schedules the projects that will move forward across North Carolina over the next 10 years.
Between June 2 and Aug. 29, each of our 14 transportation divisions held a minimum 30-day comment period, which included at least one public meeting. During this time, engineers assigned the final Division input points based on comments received at those meetings. Local MPO/RPO members also assigned points based on input received over the past several months. Both division engineers and MPOs and RPOs previously established clear methodologies for collecting public input and determining how they would assign local input points as required by the new law.
NCDOT combined these local input points with data-driven technical points to calculate the final score for each project on the regional and division levels. Projects on the statewide level were previously scored using data only.
These scores are not the final determination of which projects will be programmed, but will be considered along with other factors including completion of environmental and engineering plans and corridor spending caps, to create the draft 10-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
In May 2014, we released data for nearly 3,100 projects for highway and non-highway modes (Aviation, Rail, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Ferry and Public Transportation) across the state.
This initial data showed that STI would allow us to move forward with more projects using existing funds, which would ultimately create more jobs in North Carolina. Using this initial data we estimated the number of projects we could schedule over the next 10 years (371) would double compared to the old formula (175).
An additional 108 major projects are not subject to STI, because they were scheduled for construction before July 1, 2015. We will continue to move forward with those projects.
Both division engineers and MPOs and RPOs established clear methodologies for collecting public input and determining how they were going to assign local input points as required by law.
Using the STI Project Viewer
The interactive map below shows all transportation projects evaluated through STI.
Users can zoom in to see any project on the map. They can click on the icons to view details about each project related to aviation, ferry, rail and public transportation. Clicking on blue lines will pull up information on bicycle and pedestrian projects, while clicking on green lines will bring up details about highway projects. Those details include a project description and cost, as well as its STI scores.
The map also offers a convenient way to save, send or print the information available for each project. Users can click on the “Project Data PDF” link in the pop-up box to access a PDF document containing project data, map and scores.
Please note: Sign in is not required to use the map. For more insight on how to use the map, read our tip sheet.
View larger map
Now that the points have been totaled, NCDOT will schedule projects using those scores and other considerations such as the completion of environmental and engineering plans, corridor spending caps, adherence to annual budget constraints, thresholds for non-highway and highway projects, and accounting for alternate criteria projects to ultimately determine when individual projects can begin.
In addition to new projects added to the STIP, NCDOT will also continue moving forward with an additional 108 transition projects not subject to STI that were scheduled for construction before July 1, 2015.
The department will circulate a draft of the STIP for public comment in December 2014. NCDOT anticipates the Board of Transportation will adopt it in June 2015.
Under the new law, there will be some projects that score well through the Strategic Transportation Investments law (Strategic Mobility Formula), but will take years to get the necessary environmental permits to begin construction. A proposed state transportation bond would help bridge the transition to the new funding formula and kick start Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for transportation by continuing to build necessary infrastructure immediately. To be eligible for the bond, projects must have been scored through the STI, and have completed planning documents and/or be partially constructed.
Why STI Is Important
North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing state in the country. At the same time, NCDOT’s major revenue sources – including the state gas tax and federal fuel tax share, the Highway Use Tax and DMV fees – no longer provide enough funding to pay for all the transportation improvements North Carolina needs to continue to thrive.
STI will allow us to use our existing resources more efficiently and effectively, helping us move forward with important projects to enhance mobility and revitalize communities throughout the state. The new process encourages us to think from a statewide and regional perspective while also providing flexibility to address local needs.
How It Works
The Strategic Mobility Formula funds projects in three categories:
Division Needs Category
Projects in this category will receive 30% of the available revenue, shared equally over NCDOT’s 14 Transportation Divisions, which are groupings of local counties. Project scores will be based 50% on data and 50% on local rankings by area planning organizations and the NCDOT Transportation Divisions.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to three criteria:
- Congestion (20%)
- Benefit/Cost (20%)
- Safety (10%)
Regional Impact Category
This category will receive 30% of available revenue. Projects on this level compete within regions made up of two NCDOT Transportation Divisions, with funding divided among the regions based on population. Data makes up 70% of the project scores in this category. Local rankings will account for the remaining 30%.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to four criteria:
- Congestion (25%)
- Benefit/Cost (25%)
- Safety (10%)
- Accessibility/Connectivity (10%)
Statewide Mobility Category
This category will receive 40% of available revenue. The project selection process will be based 100% on data.
Highway projects in this category are analyzed according to five criteria:
- Congestion (30%)
- Benefit/Cost (30%)
- Economic Competitiveness (10%)
- Safety (10%)
- Multimodal, Freight and Military (20%))
STI scoring, weights and criteria were developed in 2013 by a broad-based group of transportation professionals and stakeholders, adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation and reported to the N.C. General Assembly.
NOTE: Statewide Mobility projects are also analyzed separately in the Regional Impact and Division Needs categories and can cascade down to those categories for funding if they are not funded in the Statewide Category. Regional Impact projects can also cascade down to the Division Needs category.
A project’s benefit/cost can be improved if funding is provided during the project submission phase through local entity contributions or tolling approved by the local planning organization. In addition, a bonus allocation of up to 50% will be returned to the contributing area for a subsequent project scored through STI.
To provide more flexibility, STI allows regions and divisions to develop alternate criteria tailored to their individual needs. To do so, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Rural Planning Organizations and NCDOT Divisions within the region must unanimously agree to the alternate criteria.
Regions made up of NCDOT Divisions 1 and 4 and Divisions 2 and 3 chose to utilize this option and developed alternate Regional Impact and Division Needs criteria.
These photos show Governor McCrory and other state leaders explaining the benefits of the Strategic Mobility Formula during the April 18 announcement.