Public comments sought on potential transportation projects
|ASHEVILLE – North Carolinians are invited to a public meeting June 14 to express their opinions about which regional and local transportation projects in the 7-county Division 13 area should be top priorities in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) – a 10-year plan that identifies funding for projects and schedules them for construction.The N.C. Department of Transportation combines data and local input to determine which projects will get built, using criteria established in the Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) law to focus funding on projects that help reduce congestion, improve safety and promote economic growth.
NCDOT Division 13 (Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties) will hold an informal public meeting from 5-7 p.m., on Thursday, June 14, at Lake Tomahawk Park, Lakeview Clubhouse, 401 Laurel Circle Drive, Black Mountain, N.C., 28711.
Citizens are invited to stop in and provide input a preliminary list of regional projects supported by the division to be considered for funding. Please note that these meetings are not for maintenance projects, such as patching potholes, resurfacing roads or improving ditches.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for anyone with disabilities who wants to participate in the public meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Lauren Putnam, Public Involvement Officer, at 919-707-6072 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible, so that these arrangements can be made.
Other Ways to Participate
During a public comment period that runs from June 4 through July 9, NCDOT is collecting feedback from citizens who express their views at public meetings across the state, online, by phone or in writing.
Starting June 4, citizens can provide input through the STI website (ncdot.gov/sti). Citizens can complete a short, interactive survey to identify priority projects, or send a message to their local division planning engineer.
The online survey features an interactive state map with the proposed projects up for funding. Citizens can review project information and provide feedback on which projects they think are important.
The STI website provides the phone numbers and postal addresses of local division planning engineers, for citizens who want to comment on transportation projects by telephone or mail.
In Division 13, contact Brendan Merithew, PE, at email@example.com, (828) 251-6171 or by mail at: 55 Orange Street, Asheville N.C., 28801.
In April, NCDOT released data scores for more than 2,100 transportation improvement projects across the state, in the first round of an evaluation process to determine which projects will be scheduled for construction. Also in April, NCDOT identified 77 high-scoring Statewide Mobility projects that will be programmed for funding over the next decade.
After the comment period ends on July 9, NCDOT will combine the data scores and local input to produce the total project scores. A draft list of the top-scoring Regional Impact projects is scheduled for release in August. A similar process for local input will take place in the fall for local Division Needs projects.
Once all project scores are finalized, the top projects will be programmed for construction based on available funding. Other factors may determine whether a project ultimately moves to construction, including the completion of environmental and engineering plans, corridor spending limits prescribed by law, and other federal and state funding restrictions.
This information will be used to create the next STIP for the years 2020-2029. NCDOT will release a draft STIP for public comment in January 2019. The final 2020-2029 STIP is expected to be adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation in June 2019.
The STI law, enacted in 2013, established a data-driven process that allows NCDOT to invest transportation dollars more efficiently and effectively. NCDOT updates the STIP approximately every two years to ensure that it accurately reflects the state’s current financial situation.