To ensure that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is investing in the best transportation projects for the state of Ohio, the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) is considering changes to how it evaluates and prioritizes the funding of major new transportation projects.
At the Nov. 20 meeting, TRAC members heard from representatives of the state’s transportation partners - including reports from metropolitan planning organizations, regional transit authorities, and local communities - on how this new criteria ties in with efforts to promote multi-modal integration, economic development and environmental stewardship, innovative finance, and fiscal responsibility.
Last December, ODOT Director James Beasley discussed the need to align the policies and procedures of the TRAC with ODOT’s 2008-2009 Business Plan, which emphasizes a need to secure financial balance and preserve the state’s current infrastructure. The plan also highlights a commitment to a multi-modal approach to modernizing the state’s transportation system, encourages improved environmental stewardship and energy efficiency, and prioritizes the department’s role in advancing economic development.
The TRAC used 2008 to review current TRAC policies and procedures, understand the history of project selection, and begin to explore new approaches. TRAC members broke into subcommittees on multimodal integration, economic development, innovative finance, and fiscal responsibility.
NEW PRIORITIZATION FACTORS:
Transportation Factors will constitute up to 55% of project scoring and embrace the following principles:
- Transportation projects will be evaluated in a more-balanced manner, with three general categories: road, public transit and intercity passenger rail, and water port and rail;
- A benefit/cost ratio will measure the public benefit of the project rather than just a transportation problem
- A new environmental category will score air quality impacts of a project
- An intermodal connectivity category will score whether projects connect modes of transportation.
Community Economic Growth and Development Factors will constitute up to 25% of project scoring and embrace principles that consider:
- Local economic distress with both poverty and unemployment rates
- How the project positions land for redevelopment and reclaim brown fields
- How the project improves business development with access to job centers and job ready sites
- How the project improves investment and employment opportunities
Local and Private Investment Factors will constitute up to 20% of project scoring and measure:
- The level of local and private sector investment to assure project success
- Permit the use of Federal earmarks, but not count them towards a local project match.
Upon further discussion with TRAC members and refinement by staff, the goal is conclude public outreach before a special meeting of the TRAC on December 4, 2008. Adoption of new the policies and procedures could occur at the TRAC’s next regularly scheduled meeting December 18.
For more information contact Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640.