January 27, 2014

DOT reschedules public meeting on new
transportation improvements law for Feb. 17

The Department of Transportation wants to hear from North Carolinians regarding their transportation priorities as part of its efforts to implement the state’s new Strategic Transportation Investments law. 

Signed into law by Gov. McCrory last summer, House Bill 817, “Strategic Transportation Investments,” overhauls the way North Carolina funds transportation improvements, allowing NCDOT 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.

The law establishes the Strategic Mobility Formula, which uses a data-driven approach to provide more flexibility in funding transportation improvements on the statewide, regional and division level with the goal of meeting the state’s top priorities while still addressing individualized local needs. 

In the coming weeks, each of the 14 NCDOT Transportation Divisions across the state will submit its top transportation priorities to compete with other transportation improvements across the state for funding under the new formula. 

To help determine these priorities, each division is asking local residents to provide their thoughts on which transportation improvements are most important. Projects can be as large as an interstate improvement or as small as a new turn lane or traffic signal and can be for any mode of transportation, including public transit, bicycle/pedestrian, ferry, aviation and rail.

Residents can take part in the process by making their suggestions during a 30-day public comment period that closes on Thursday, Feb. 20. Each Transportation Division will host a public open house to meet with local residents and obtain feedback regarding transportation priorities. 

In NCDOT’s Division One, which includes Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties, winter weather forced the cancelation of the open house originally scheduled for earlier this month. 

The open house has now been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 17, from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center, located at 207 Research Station Road in Plymouth. The public comment period for this division has been extended to accommodate this new date.

In addition, written comments can be submitted via email to NCDOT Division One Planning Engineer Gretchen Byrum at [email protected] or regular mail to NCDOT Division One, Attention: STI, 113 Airport Drive, Suite 100, Edenton, N.C. 27932-509. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb. 20.

The Strategic Transportation Investments law changes the way money is allocated to each division in the state. A percentage of the money is split evenly among the divisions and other funds are based on population.

The sparsely populated northeastern rural counties could suffer a lack of funding because of that.

The law, in a round-about way, will also affect the tolling of free ferries, including the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry.

More information about the Strategic Transportation Investments law and how it works, and the public meetings can be found on the NCDOT website.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in this meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Byrum at [email protected] or (252) 482-1850 as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

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