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Citizens Invited to Share Thoughts on Next Step in STI Law Implementation

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:

  • The method their local division developed to determine how to assign these points; and
  • The number of points the division plans to allot to different types of projects, including highway, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian, ferry, public transportation and rail.

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 strategicplanning@ncdot.gov, 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.

For more information on the upcoming public meeting, visit our STI public meetings webpage. To learn more about STI, go to our Strategic Transportation Investments Law webpage.

***NCDOT***

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Posted in NC-Cherokee County, NC-Clay County, NC-Graham County, NC-Macon County, NC-Swain County, Regional News

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