NCDOT Spending Targets Roadway Congestion

May 16, 2014

The state Strategic Transportation Investments law allows NCDOT to allocate revenue for projects based on data-driven scoring and local input.
Credit NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has ranked 3,100 proposed transportation projects. They're all vying for a chunk of the $15 billion expected to be allocated in the 2015 Transportation Improvement Program.

NCDOT's Chief Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson said the department prioritized projects that would alleviate serious, ongoing traffic congestion. For that reason, many of the higher ranked projects are in the Triangle and Charlotte areas.

“Areas that don't have substantial year-round congestion did not score as well as areas that do. And there is a limited amount of money available,” said Tennyson. “There are quite a few projects that are worthy projects that are not in this program.”

But Tennyson said 60 percent of the funding will be reserved for more local projects.

“If it did not score well enough to be programmed at the statewide level, then local points could be assigned to allow it to go forward as a regional project at the regional level.”

Still, all projects are scored, and that information will be available to the public. Tennyson says this is the most transparent process the department has ever carried out.

“We find that to be a real benefit, because, while not every project gets chosen, we are in a position to be able to identify the reasons that the projects that chosen are chosen. And we think that's progress.”

Tennyson said the public comment period will open in August and a draft Transportation Improvement Program will be released in December. He expects a final plan to be adopted next June.