Public meeting scheduled in Sylva on June 17 kicks off 30-day comment period
Citizens are encouraged to help North Carolina take the next step forward to implement the Strategic Transportation Investments law. STI overhauls the way the state funds transportation improvements, allowing the N.C. Department of Transportation to make more efficient use of its existing revenues to fund more investments that improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, create jobs and help boost the economy.
A meeting scheduled on Tuesday, June 17 in Sylva will kick off a 30-day public comment period for Division 14, which consists of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania counties. The informal meeting will be held at Southwestern Community College, located at 447 Webster Road, Rooms 102C and 102D, from 4-7 p.m. During that time, citizens are invited to stop in and share their thoughts on the distribution of local input points for projects going through the STI process.
The STI law directs each of the department’s 14 Transportation Divisions to assign points to local highway and non-highway mode projects considered important to their area. These points, when combined with a data-driven score, are used in determining the final score for each project on the Regional and Division levels. Projects on the Statewide level are scored using data only.
NCDOT is asking citizens to offer feedback on two key areas:
Citizens who cannot attend the public meeting are welcome to provide their comments in a number of different ways. They can call Joel Setzer at (828) 586-2141. Citizens can also visit the STI public meetings webpage and fill out an online form. They can email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can print the form and mail it to:
Joel Setzer, PE
NCDOT, Division 14
253 Webster Road
Sylva, NC 28779
When its 30-day public comment period ends, the division will carefully consider the input received while determining its final point distribution in August.
NCDOT will use the point totals, along with the data-driven numbers already associated with each project, to tabulate the final project scores. Then, the department will include the projects with the highest overall scores in the upcoming 10-year work plan. Other required project scheduling considerations such as the completion of environmental and engineering plans, and federal and state funding restrictions will affect the specific timeframe assigned to a project.
NCDOT will use the final project rankings generated by the new law to create the next State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The department will circulate a draft of the STIP for public comment beginning in December 2014. It will be adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation in June 2015.
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