With us. Steve McCain, Carlton Adams, Martha Gadson and Joe Judson. Thank you for being here as sergeant at arms. I’ll go ahead and go through the process, I apologize. Everyone’s very important and I need to recognize these people so thank you so much. Okay I’d like to go ahead and get started. I’d like to, first person that’s going to be coming to the podium today is David Watson, if you’d like to come forward. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning. Thank you Mr. Chair, members of the committee. My name is David Wasserman. I’m with the Department Prioritization Office and I’m going to talk to you about our third generation of the prioritization process, known as Prioritization 3.0, P3.0 it’s also known as, and it’s the first under the guise of the STI legislation that was passed in 2013. So this slide shows the cornerstone of the bill. It really shows how the bill is supposed to function. 40% of the funds go to projects in the statewide mobility category. Here, the eligible types of projects include interstates, Class 1 railroads, major US and NC routes, along with your four major airports. And projects are selected in this category based 100% on data. The next 30% of your funds go to projects listed in the regional impact category. Here, projects are selected 70% based on data, 30% based on local input. And projects really only compete against one another within the same region, and the regions are comprised of two divisions also known as a paired division, also known as a funding region. The funding for each of those paired regions is based on population. And lastly we have your division needs category where projects are selected 50% based on data, 50% based on local input. Here, projects only compete against one another within the same division, and initially each division gets an equal share before other funds are taken off the top. One of the more innovating pieces of the STI is what is known as the cascading effect, or the waterfall effect. And that is essentially, projects that don’t make the cut for funding in the statewide mobility category are eligible for funds in the regional impact category using the criteria and weights of that category. Similarly, projects that don’t make the cut in the regional impact category are eligible for funding in the division needs category as well. And Prioritization 3.0 and also in the draft step that was released in December, we had several projects, over a hundred projects that cascaded down with this effect. So we definitely like the way it’s turned out. This slide shows the criteria and weights that was used to score highway projects. These were initially recommended by the workgroup and ultimately approved by the Board of Transportation in 2013. And more detailed information about each of these criteria is in the handouts on the website, in the Highway Criteria Summary Report, and also in the Criteria Summary Report and the All Weights in the descriptions for all modes of transportation on the website. So I’ll go through these real briefly here. In the statewide mobility category, again projects are selected 100% based on data, 30% of the score is based on what is known as travel time benefit cost. And here the measure is essentially travel time savings over thirty years, divided by the cost of the project to the department. And the cost to the department can be lowered if non-state or non-federal funds are committed by the local areas, such as local funds, municipal funds, or tolls. Congestion consists of your average annual daily traffic, divided by the capacity of the roadway, and then weighted by the volume of the roadway. Economic competiveness is based 50% on the long-term jobs the project is expected to provide as well as percent change in the economy. The major input to that criteria is the expected travel time savings over thirty years that the project is expected to provide. Safety is composed of your critical crash rates, crash density and crash severity. Multi-modal, military and freight consists of whether the project is on the military network, also known as ??. Truck volumes along the route, and whether the project provides a connection to a transportation terminal. And that, those you can see the weights and percentage for the statewide mobility category. When you get down to your regional impact category, again 70% is based on data. The remaining 30% is evenly split between the division engineers rank and the NPO and RPO rank. And each is a formal methodology for assigning points for your regional impact project, as well as your division needs project. When you get down to that category, the division engineers rank holds
5% of the weight and the MPO and RPO rank holds 25% of the weight. And the last criteria that I need to mention is accessibility connectivity. That essentially looks at what the county tier that the product is located in. We get that information from the Department of Commerce. Whether the product upgrades, how the roadway functions, such as eliminating traffic signals along the roadway, building new freeways, and lastly it also looks at the census commute times in the area. As far as the non-highway modes go, each has a minimum of four criteria. The criteria was not separately spelled out in the legislation. However, again, the details of this are in the handout. And all projects must be scored on a 0 to 100 point scale with no bonus points. So the biggest challenges in Prioritization 3.0 essentially how to allocate STI dollars across the modes. No one else across the country had ever really done such a thing, particularly with six different modes of transportation. So initially for Prioritization 3.0 what was recommended by the work group and ultimately approved by the Board of Transportation was this approach where state-wide projects, there's no normalization. The scores are what they are. And the reason for that is because the majority of those projects were highway projects, one. And then the other modes that were eligible, again, we had a few projects from Class I railroads along with projects from your four major commercial service airports. When you get down to the Regional Impact and Division Needs category here, the work group recommended and the Board approved to allocate a minimum of 90% of your funds to highway projects, a minimum of 4% of your funds to non-highway projects, and the remaining 6% was based on the total score, which included your local input points. Ultimately what was approved was the night the ?? was funded in the Draft STIP was that 95% of the funds went to highway projects, 5% of your funds went to non-highway projects. Just keep in mind, those numbers are from the Draft STIP and they are a snapshot in time. So real quickly, in Prioritization 3.0 we scored about 3,100 projects, the majority of which were highway projects. You can see the other numbers on the screen up there. Ultimately what was programmed in the STIP, and again this is a snapshot in time and these numbers are based on the result of STI, there are roughly 560 projects programmed between highway and non-highway. Just one thing to keep in mind, that is just the projects programmed in the Draft STIP that were based on the results of STI. Altogether in the Draft STIP there are close 10 1,100 projects including safety, bridge and IM type projects. That concludes my presentation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Joe, you're up next. ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning. I'm Joe Guerre with Cambridge Systematics. I have a few slides on the highlights from our findings from a review of the P 3.0 methodology. Cambridge Systematics is a national transportation firm. We focus on transportation policy, planning, project prioritization. We've done these types of efforts in a lot of states throughout the US in a lot of regions. The approach that we used for our review was to take an outsider's impartial look at it. We had no involvement in the process, the development of the process over the past few years. And we have no stake in the results, the types of projects that come out of the process. We had two tracks of our analysis. One of them was a statistical side where we had a team of statisticians who were even more removed from North Carolina or from the actual project. They were just looking at the numbers and the data to see what those told them. We also had a team of transportation experts that looked into the details about the data that was used, the assumptions that were used, the calculations and best practices, national guidance from other agencies, et cetera. Put those together and came up with a series of recommendations. So overall themes, we were really impressed. It's a very mature process. Again, relative to what other agencies are going at, it's the most comprehensive process that we've seen for project prioritization at the state level. As expected, we did see some inconsistencies, some opportunities for improvement, particularly across the modes. We had a number of recommendations within the modes, a little low hanging fruit on how to close some of those inconsistencies and improve the process going forward. One of the things that we didn't find was we didn't find any significant bias by type of project, one of the things that
Look at where what it was if the process was giving priority to certain types of projects over the other and we just didn’t sign that. I could go through some recommendations. We have recommendations within each of the six modes and then we have a series of recommendations across the modes. And so from as David just mentioned, it’s important to remember the prioritization process is within each mode there is a series of criteria and they’re all ranked, reported on a scale of zero to one hundred. Then those criteria are combined into an overall score. The biggest statistical issue that we’ve found was that there were low ranges, low values, low ranges of values on the scores and some disproportional weighting. So what that mean is that if you have a zero to one hundred point scale you can report on, we found a lot of instances where most of the projects were in a very small window, a small band of that. So you’re losing the ability to distinguish against projects, but then also when you roll these together, there’s implication in terms of the weighting that each of the criterion has in the score. So, as an example of this table here, there is, it shows the criteria that were used for the rail projects and the weights assigned to them that’s the relative priority of each criterion. So in this example, preventative cost is assigned a weight of twenty percent, but if you actually look at the numbers the benefit cost of the projects would have about a five percent, account for five percent of the overall project. The other end of the scale is mobility where that was assigned a weight of twenty but when you look at the numbers mobility was having, accounting for over half of the total score. So the issue with that, the reason that this is happening is because of the different approaches used to scale the results on a zero to a hundred point scale. So one of our main recommendations was to scale all of the criteria consistently. And so this graph shows, attempts to show what that means. The blue lines, straight line, this is just one criterion within the highlighted mode that is how a raw score and adjusted score is converted to the final score. And so in this case, the score is a score until it reaches a hundred. So it’s capped at a hundred. And all projects that get a score over that are capped at a hundred. The approach that we are recommending is grading on a curve. So you assign a hundred to the best, the project that has the highest, assign a zero to the project that has the lowest. And you then you grade a curve relative in between. And so, what this, what some of the implications of that are that it will be possible theoretically for a project to have a score of a hundred. If it’s the best project in all the criteria and you roll that together, it’s gonna get a hundred. The other thing that’s going to happen is that you will see some in our cases, some projects that rank high, some that rank in the middle, and some that rank in the low. You will see that the results will reflect much closer the weights that were assigned to the criteria at the beginning of the process and will also help with some consistency across, when you start to look across modes. So for example, the best bike-ped type project would be a hundred, and the best rail project would be a hundred. So if you looked at those scores independently, you would say, ok, I know that this is a really good project on this mode and a really good project on this mode. Some of the other global recommendations were, I mentioned opportunities to improve consistency. We found cases in which some key terms were being used inconsistently across the modes. So we flagged those and recommended some definitions. It wasn’t possible to look at the impact of a project to look at the congestion, or the safety, or whatever, before a project is built and after it’s built and compare the difference and use that when possible instead of just looking at current conditions. We recommend using a measure of cost effectiveness when benefit cost is not possible. Benefit cost is a monetary, monetized benefit by the cost. Some of the modes it’s just not possible to monetize the benefits of these projects. So when that’s not possible we recommend using some other qualitative or quantitative assessments of the benefits. Dividing by cost and referring to that or presenting that as a cost effectiveness. We also recommend introducing a new, a new measure of financial leverage which is for every dollar DOTC spends, how many additional dollars to they attract to the state transportation program [Speaker changes] Excuse me. Can you go back to what for every dollar they spend, how many they attract, explain it out. [Speaker changes] To the transportation program [Speaker changes] OK [Speaker changes] We also looked at opportunities and options for comparing projects across
Was directly to each other, so throwing all of the modal projects into one big bucket, using the same criteria and prioritizing the highway project directly against an aviation project, directly against a ferry project, and that really comes down to an apples to oranges comparison, and it's not mathematically, definitively possible to quantify an apple against an orange. So, but we do, we make these types of decisions all the day, I mean, everyday, all the time. And there are some agencies, we saw examples were they're trying to prioritize across modes, but except in one case it's always been done qualitatively, and so we know that the priority here is to do it quantitatively. And so for that reason we recommend going forward that NC-DOT not put all the projects together and have one single set of criteria for them. Because what happens is, if you do that is you would start to defer to the lowest common denominator in terms of things that you can calculate for each mode, and you start to lose a lot of the advances that have been made over the past couple of years and your ability to look at that and analyze the benefits of these project. And then, the other recommendation and a final one was just to ensure transparency when evaluating priorities across the modes. There's good reasons for assigning priorities to one mode over the other, and sometimes the tendancy at agencies we see is to try to deal with those within the calculations and get the math to work so that we get the answer that reflects those priorities. Our recommendation is to not do that, to be very clear and transparent about what the policies are, what the priorities are, and let, and don't get into the calculations, work the calculations to try to get the answer that is desired. So that was, that's a high level or quick overview of what we looked at across the modes, so we also went into specific ones within the modes. And I won't go over all of these, but I just wanted to focus on the highway side. There's eight of them, the range, and some of them are really low hanging fruit like increase, or update the value of time associated with travel. Some of them are very complicated and we got into a lot of details, and wanted dependencies on how you calculate travel time savings, and so they range across the board. Some of the other ones on here reflect the implementation of some of the global recommendations I mentioned, for example, improving the safety and the congestion calculations to look at the impact of the project before a project is build and after the project is built. Then the final one wass specifically related to the connectivity and accessibility measure. On that one, it was unclear to us what they, the intent of the measure was and what it was actually doing, and so our recommendation is to clarity the objective of that and then to rework the calculation methodology to make sure that it supports that objective. And so with that, I'm. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Torbett. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I may have been napping a minute ago, but I have a question also. Did you, are you or just haven't got to it yet, looking at the proximity of a project to a multi-modal facility? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If this has been in analysis of 3.0, they're now involved with 4.0, too and they'll be presenting that next. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So in other words, they looked back at 3.0 and kind of defined what the fix for 4.0 might be, and then she would. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is he done? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, I'm okay, I'm done. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are there any questions? Yes, Representative Shepard. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Mr. Chair, I have one. I'm not sure if it's for this speaker or someone else, it's a question that came at me a while back and maybe you could elude to it or you could discuss it. I had an air traffic, a manager at an airport ask me, how is it a bypass scores higher than an air traffic control tower in STI? So I don't know if you can discuss that, or am I better to let someone else maybe discuss it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The reason that that can happen is because the way that the way that the prioritization is done was within the modes, so that Bike-Ped project is competing against other Bike-Ped projects, and the aviation project is competing against other aviation projects. And so what you'll see is, if it's all relative to those types of projects, some of those will come to the top of the list. There is, in theory, the best aviation project that you can do and the best Bike-Ped project that you could do, and so understanding, I think, the recommendations that we're making in terms of the scaling will provide some consistency and will improve the ability to interpret the results. If you see a project in one mode with 100, and a project in another mode with 100, that means that they're the best projects for that mode, but it's not making a distinction about the priority across, between those two project. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Iler. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Back on slide number eight, the term expected benefit, rather than current
Conditions. With respect to benefits, I didn't quite catch on to how they arrived at conclusion after the project. When your planning your portiposi(?) when your looking after the project, tell me if you can, briefly, how that's different than the crystal ball. SPEAKER CHANGES So we have data in hand that has existing characteristics; you know how much traffic is on there, you know the accidents over the last three years, you can figure out the traffic time, the delay, etc., and so there are tools and techniques on the planning side to predict that model after a project is built. So for example; the (uppage summary??) has done a lot of work that looks at if you implement a certain type of project what is the expected decrease in accidents? There has been a lot of research over the years, they have consolidated all of that and to the best of their ability, looking at data driven, looking at like projects, like roads in other place and then try to model that going forward. With that it gives you the ability to say, we can look at a project today and we can model what we think it will look like after the project and take the change there as the benefit of the project. SPEAKER CHANGES I guess your looking at projected population was, project congestion based upon that, that kinda thing? SPEAKER CHANGES So there are different levels of that but the important thing is all of those assumption are consistent across the project. For example in the current approach to looking at congestion it is based on current traffic on a certain highway, a certain road. So you have a current amount of traffic on so many lanes, so if you add a lane you can expect that travel time will improve for the traffic level that is there, it's less crystal ballish because you don't have to look at population. SPEAKER CHANGES I guess we will move on to the next presenter, thank you so much. Susan Pulliam SPEAKER CHANGES Thank you Chair, thank you coach Harris, thank you committee members. My name is Susan Pulliam and I work with the department of transportation and I'm here today to give you an update on the prioritization 4.0 work group process. No recommendations have been officially adopted by the board at this point but there are recommendations that are sort of in process that we want to give you an update on and get your feedback on. My role in the process is to serve as the facilitator for the work group, so I'm going to give you just a brief overview of the process which I believe most of you are familiar with, talk a little bit about the consensus recommendations that are being put before committees for evaluation, also look at topics that are still under discussion where no decision has yet to be made, and finally those topic that we have just yet to broach, we haven't yet had on opportunity to even start dialog about. For the process overview, as you remember, is a work group that is made up members of both internal and external transportation personnel, so those are internal to the OT, as well as, those that are interested stake holders like our MPO's or RPO's and select others. We use a consensus decision making model, which means we rarely, if ever, call for a vote on an item. It's more that the work group goes through a very deliberative discussion process and says, "ok we have consensus on this and this is a recommendation we can support." Our final recommendations are expected to come to the board in June and we're expecting them to approve those in July and of course, per legislation, and it's the right thing to do, we will be giving you a report in December of 2016. As far as the consensus recommendations that we have to date, so far, the work group has agreed or put forward a recommendation that there should be two 60 day periods during the local input process. If you'll remember during 3.0 we did the local input for both the regional and division needs projects at the same time across a 90 day span. The work group agreed that it would be better if we could look at the results of each of those instances before applying those local input points and there is plenty of time in the calendar to accommodate this recommendation. The next consensus item that they have is that, which project should be subject to reprioritization and the work group has recommended that any project that has right of way or construction applied to it through 2020 once this Stip is adopted, that those projects would be able to continue moving forward and not be subject to reprioritization. In addition, you heard the presentations from Joe, they have agreed to incorporate a majority of the global recommendations particularly with the scaling emphasis to make sure that scores are scaled appropriately across that 100 point scale, to address some of those concerns you just brought up a moment ago about comparing projects within a particular mode. At the multi-moto freight area, I think this addresses Representative Torbett's question earlier, they did agree to
A heavily to mobile and the creek area into shoe can carry a previously all eligible to military element or any field criteria in order to create a template that into the product that impact happened a terminal and tragic that in time for a terminal to the top of the final determination to you and I plan to turn around and tripling of the terminal and one play terminal the current recommendation to 20 mile buffer (SPEAKER CHANGES)until the canal into into the own war family-work and-a player of the nation in a way to making that happen to terminal and the input of terminal from the impact intervention will invite that would happen if a product of Clinton parade detailing connector maker of Mali and may end up after terminal percent of the worker to indicate that women looking by terminal are a recognized that either the product of the Federal agent Rachel open daily impacted only get framed it into another major port of your were in line for action to the teammate and they're the people of all of which it when they should lead to the fact that the product of the other way that in fact the ability of the contract work efficiently and long and one of the home of a whole lot more(SPEAKER CHANGES) and more than one more than one own raw and more of an one long- haul and one in one and one 11 and one of the entire senior question quickly addition to running time of that happen to travel with that of the time of the top of the terminal that I understand what the patient largely around the fact that they should be a multilevel exchange and the killing, by two of the perhaps going from the bible field might have perhaps conditioning from the park old humane and after Memorial Day location of the balladry the money upfront multiplication and captured the connecting the competitive update on the beacon wheeler tactician when we look at the products that are connecting cheaper at the port one in one click and you recognize that 20 milder(SPEAKER CHANGES) and competed for an end after contacting your question that I can think of that content and the way the minors game that the currently won the minimal in addition, like the way that we all live in a utility that the building the neighborhood would lay in the day the winner in a limited waiver in what would happen the way the time that we now wonders and that the impact of explaining that the 20 miles fell a new road will will lead to a way that would better and better active along with a tumor that the data and 14 out of that right back in the data that they're in it illegally entered in the end of the beaten track in the area may not be in the middle and late in the eve of a move that one and one for-dollar loan of a mom-and there were one for the worksheet and the form of an over-the- Moon and old and all the women and one..............
[??] but I think about getting from A to B, not [??] and the further, cause the sooner you get out of the congestion area you start to [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Perhaps it would help to clarify that the 20 mile buffer is the limit, so the most points would go to a project closer to the terminal and then we would still be able to continue to award points up to the 20, but it’s the upper limit of when you are eligible to get points for the project. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you wanna do [??] . [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chair. We’ll look at the next criteria that you see up here is accessibility and connectivity and again following the Cambridge recommendations the workgroup spent a great deal of time deliberating on what the intent and purpose of this particular criteria is and the best way to measure it to accommodate that particular goal, and so at this point the workgroup has defined it as improving access to opportunity in rural and less affluent areas and improve interconnectivity of the transportation network and the scoring criteria that they have identified and the type of information that comes from the Department of Commerce regarding economic distress indicators as well as the project’s ability to upgrade the roadway function. For other criteria we sort of lumped these together, pavement conditions, lane width, shoulder width and economic competitiveness, the workgroup has agreed to continue to use the criteria from [??] moving forward and that is consistent again with what came out of the Cambridge recommendation. At this point there’s still a lot of deliberation about some very important topics, the [??] of which is the benefit/cost criteria and this is a particular criteria where there are some recommendations to improve the effect on scoring and to improve the financial leverage component of local financial contribution to a project in this particular criteria, but I’ll be candid, this particular topic has been something that the workgroup has struggled with. They’re really trying to evaluate what the impact of any changes might be so they’re deliberate and slow and methodical about their evaluation of this criteria and the recommended option and recognize that any change in this criteria could have intended or unintended consequences and they want to make sure they fully understand those before making a final recommendation. Some examples of questions that have come up for dialogue and conversations that the workgroup has had is that if I take a [??] to the complex project and reduce the scope of it and such reduce the cost of the project, that should hopefully improve the benefit/cost of the project, but the downside of that then could be are we then prioritizing low cost projects versus the best project possible, so they wanna continue to talk through those types of examples. Another concept is the financial leverage piece. If the local area is able to contribute money to the project to reduce the overall cost to the state budget, you know, looking at the trust fund dollars, should that not help improve the benefit/cost part. That is a positive conversation in some ways, but in others is it saying that, you know, perhaps having difficulty in certain local areas to come up with that kind of money am I maybe accidentally penalizing an area because they don’t have the ability to bring the money to the table, and so these are the types of dialogues and conversations that the workers are having and that’s why they have yet to make a recommendation. They really want to sort through all the possible implications of adjusting this criteria. Looking at peak and seasonal traffic, I think it’s safe to say that recognizing that there are peak volumes of traffic across the state, the workgroup really is committed to trying to find a way to move beyond just average annual daily traffic counts across the entire state and really try to find an effective, confident way to look at peak fluctuation throughout the state, and this may be seasonal traffic due to tourism, it may be traffic due to other types of seasonality. For example, we noticed in our study that there is a traffic counter in the Crabtree area, Crabtree mall area that has a really high peak seasonality around the holiday shopping season. Imagine that. Such a surprise, so what this map shows you are the current 71 permanent count stations that we have and we did work with the group over at NC State to help us evaluate what the possibilities would be for defining a very consistent and confidence building method for peak seasonal traffic. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] for factoring that information? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So these are 71 permanent traffic counters that are, they maintain and operate and get that 24 hours a day. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Did we, can I get some of that, how would be the best way to capture the data cause I’m interested in
Will it show us migratory patterns? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t believe so. They’re permanent counters that just sort of stand on the side of the road and just count the number of cars that are coming but they don’t show relationship to other count stations. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Correct. How long would they have been doing this? Five years, three years, two years, one year, ten years? [SPEAKER CHANGES] People were looking at an average. It’s at least 5-10 years. I'll get you some specific [??] Yes, we’ll be happy to answer this question. What this graph then shows is what [??] was able to do by gleaning data from those 71 count stations and saying okay, we set the average on this graph at 1. Each one of the count stations is sort of set at a value of 1 for their average daily traffic and then we see the ups and downs or the ebbs and flows on the graph throughout the 12 months of the year, 1 being January, 12 being December. It shows you that there are some areas where those peak areas do last for more than just a day or a weekend. They, perhaps, last over a 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 day period so what the workgroup said is this is encouraging information. This lets us know that there is data out there, but we’re not so sure that we’re confident with 71 count stations so we’ve asked [??] to continue to refine their review of this information using 3,000 additional counts that we have throughout the state and we’re expecting the results of that information soon, but I can tell you today that the workgroup is very committed to trying to find a way to see if this can be used in P4 planning. Other topics that are still under consideration are future projections much like Joe was talking about. We have a very meaningful way of capturing the current condition of our roadway or the current congestion or the current traffic demand on a particular segment. We now have at our fingertips something called the North Carolina State Ride Travel Demand Model that’s been under development for close to two years and it’s looking at beyond what the Federal Highway’s recommendation the Chair mentioned, looking at specific data here in North Carolina. Looking at our land use patterns. Looking at some of our information that we know about our state specifically and we’re running some tests with that model and if that model is able to produce some confidence, future projections, then the workgroup will continue to look to see if that could be a way we could improve our benefit/cost criteria perhaps or others. There’s multiple places where we could potentially use it and so the workgroup wants to get that information from this pilot and test from before they make any final recommendation. When we look at safety criteria, one thing that the workgroup also wanted to think about, again looking to those future projections that were recommended, is we are able to say that the existing segment or the existing roadway or the existing rail terminal has an existing safety rating of based on whatever’s used to calculate safety for those types of projects. What we are not consistently able to do at this point is project the safety benefits of putting particular projects in place. So we recognize that that is a deficiency and so we’ve challenged sort of a safety team, is what I’ve been calling them sort of unofficially, to really look at what are ways that we might be able to better evaluate the future safety benefit of a particular project consistently so that perhaps we can include that either in the safety criteria or even in the benefits of the benefit/cost criteria. Another item under consideration again is congestion. We understand that that’s a very significant criteria that seems pretty straightforward, but when the group started to look at it again they wanted to make sure that again, very much like the benefit/cost criteria, that if we do make recommendations as a workgroup to adjust this criteria that we fully understand the unintended or intended changes that that might make in the overall scoring of that criteria. So currently it’s using volume to capacity ratios and the existing volume and the workgroup wants to make sure that that’s the right way to do it, to keep doing it the way we did it in 3.0 or if we can make some modifications to improve it that we do that as well. More topics still under discussion as you’ll notice, we have more under discussion than decisions made, but that’s part of the nature of the workgroup, to make sure that there’s full, deliberate conversations around every item before it becomes an official recommendation. The non-highway modes criteria, we began to receive some presentations from each of the bicycle and pedestrian and public transportation. We’re able to share some of their recommendations based on what they learned from the Cambridge Study back in our last workgroup meeting, so we’re still in the process of just evaluating what those outcomes are. Evacuation routes, this one’s been a little bit prickly for us. We, it’s very much like benefit/cost. The workers have struggled to determine what the benefit of including evacuation routes might be, perhaps for safety or for congestion. They’ve talked about it, they’ve agreed, then they’ve talked about it again and so it’s a topic very much up for debate and so what they’re working to do is to determine what’s the best place for it. Some options have been to perhaps make sure there’s data available so that locals could use it in the local input periods as part of their criteria for their local methodologies. Others are to find a data element that could be incorporated into one of the scoring criteria, but again no decision has been made to date, and normalization. This is one where we were pleasantly surprised as our department and our team were showing you
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I don't know if we've got time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We've got time. We need to move on. If you have any quick feedback or you can send it to Brian or to Susan. But we do need feedback. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll talk afterward. Representative Torbett. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Since she's looking for advice, I would say if it's monetary value not belittling a project to offset a monetary. That'd be like doing a budget based on a continuation budget, if you would. So if you want ten and you're gonna get five, that's not a, that's an increase, not a cut. So I'm just saying, let's work with real dollars and cents. If someone brings something to the table, then I think that should be of value, and the scoring should reflect that. And that was at least my understanding from day one, that if another entity brought something to the table reducing the cost to the state DOT, then that would be of value and that project would raise higher in the scoring. And I heard nothing contrary to that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One option to keep in mind, because we would love feedback from everyone on this, one thing that the workgroup was considering which concerned me, was that I felt it was a penalty. The way the formula was working was that you could not score a maximum point if you didn't bring money to the table. And so I was concerned that doing an incentive, which is what I think members want, was becoming a disincentive if you couldn't. And there's too many communities that can never bring money to the table. And so that's something also to consider when you ?? that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, thank you. Is there a possibility of allowing close proximity municipals to pool or if it's gonna benefit a general area or a region, could three municipals pool funds? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would actually ask that to our next speakers, because their feedback probably ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Tine. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You said there's several things that you feel that we've been silent on. You gave us a couple of examples. Could we go ahead and get a list from the workgroup's perspective of the things that you feel like you would like to have input from us, and then we can try and develop a process in order to provide that feedback? [SPEAKER CHANGES] In this ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Did you want to talk to ??? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before you ?? the next presentation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are you good, Representative? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I wanted to ask you something. You mentioned something about some counties, some municipalities probably couldn't afford to put any financial aid in there to bring it to our levels. Could there something be factored in to that? And maybe a question for later on, that takes consideration for the tier of that county as far as their economic wealth and that kind of thing? [SPEAKER CHANGES] We can certainly take any recommendations for discussion. Absolutely. Yes. We can talk about that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One more question. Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question about tolling for any of the staff that can explain. If a road is built that the local MPO says, are we allowing them to use tolling as a local incentive? So they're not putting any money in other than agreeing to put a toll on a road? And we're counting that as, to their favor? Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to recognize our next speakers. Paul Black and Patrick Flanagan. Flip a coin, or are y'all? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll go ahead. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning. I'm Paul Black. I am the director of the French Broad River MPO up in Asheville. I'm also the current president of the North Carolina Association of MPOs. And we wanted to just present some things today that have come out of 3.0, and talk about some of our experiences, and things we think we might be able to tweak but are outside of the purview of the workgroup, and sort of put them in front of you today. So let me go ahead and let Patrick introduce himself for the record. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I'm Patrick Flanagan with the Downeast RPO on the executive committee of the North Carolina Association of RPOs as well.
Thank you guys for this opportunity. So to start it off just an overview slide of some of the things we’re gonna talk about this morning. Overall, STI, really we thought worked very well. It really helped improve transparency and we got a good mix of projects out of it. Some things we learned along the way, revenue. You know, this is all about revenue and we’re looking at balancing being good stewards with being able to deliver the best projects when we know there’s not enough money to go around. A couple of specific things we wanna ask for, we’d like you to reexamine some of the things with some special pots of money that come to the NPOs. We wanna look at some of the ways we classify regional facilities. We wanna look at the fact that there is no local input on the statewide tier. That was problematic for some of us, and then talk about some of the non-highway modes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So first of all we really do wanna say that this legislation is a big improvement. We’ve seen that already. It’s improved transparency, the coordination between DOT members, the division engineers, NPOs and RPOs, it has improved. We do still have some work to do on that, but this did bring everyone together and it really is fostering good communication and coordination and then again the spot work that you were just hearing about really continues to be the most effective way of making the small changes and adjusting stuff based on, you know, lessons learned from the previous round and hammering out all those details. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, yeah, we talked about revenue and I think one of the things we continue to struggle with is we know we’re not bringing in enough revenue compared to how much people are traveling. People’s vehicles are getting better mileage and so they’re still driving the same mileage they used to but they’re not buying as much gasoline and we really applaud the General Assembly’s efforts. We know that there have been many studies over the years looking at many different options and we really wanna applaud you for continuing to look at ways to fix the revenue picture. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, these are the NPO slides. We want to talk about two special pots of money, ths STPDA and TAP funds that come directly to NPOs. We have 10, they’re called TMAs, Transportation Management Areas, they’re scattered around the state. They are in 12 out of the 14 divisions have at least a piece of a TMA and every single one of the funding regions have a piece of a TMA. In terms of NPOs in general, there is only one division, division one does not have an NPO in it. These funds tend to get used on the division tier. They’re used for a lot of different things. There are some eligibility requirements from the feds that we have to deal with. They do get used for bike, ped and transit, they also get used for roadway improvements. There are some safety projects in here. They vary from NPO to NPO, but this is money that the NPOs have a local process that they go through, decide what projects to fund and then we talk to the programming unit at DOT and they program that money for us. They are not exempt from SPI. What this did was it reduced the amount of available money, particularly in the division tier, for the areas outside of the TMAs. Around most of the state it sort of came out of the balance. We had competitive projects, they had competitive projects outside of TMAs and it all worked out, in two divisions in particular, though, divisions 5 and divisions 10, there was such a big chunk of STPDA that came out off the top that it made it very difficult for projects in places like Rocksboro and Indian Trail to compete for that leftover money and just as good neighbors we don’t think that that was right by them and we would like you to reexamine looking at exempting STPDA similar to the way that we currently exempt CMAC and Appalachian Development Funds. We think that will make for a fairer competitive playing field at the division level plot. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So one of the things we’ve looked at is how some of these different elements fell into the statewide regional or divisional tier. So some of the things we’re kind of noticing is not all regional impact roads function as thru traffic carriers and not all division needs roads serve just local traffic, so perhaps there would be a way to look at the federal functional classification of roads. We could help delineate what roads fit best in what tier or something of that nature, but try to really clean that up so that we’re really addressing the needs of how the road functions in the tier that makes most sense, and then another thing that kinda jumped out was the fixed highway transit systems. They’re sort of large populations over large geographic areas and support, you know, non vehicular commuting to employment centers, and this is more consistent with the regional impact tier, so potentially making those eligible for funds out of those regional dollars and then kinda the same thing with the ferry system. All the ferry docks connect regional impact highway routes
very projects are only eligible the division needs here so potentially allowing those very projects to be eligible at the regional impact level as well. And then another one is kind of a very specific example but something we found with the rail system. Short line rail that is operated by a contract or something of that nature are not eligible in STI however all of our ports and some of our other large state asset have state owned rail on their property. That they then subcontract out for operation which means they're not eligible for any funds in STI. So we would like to maybe re-examine looking at because these short lines are state owned and serve major state facilities potentially making them eligible for STI dollars. [SPEAKER CHANGE] May I stop you there. Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes sir go ahead sir. [SPEAKER CHANGE] I have a thought not a question. North Carolina happens to be the only state on the east coast that provides general fund dollars to their ports. Perhaps we should look at general fund dollars going to our ports rather than putting two rail roads two short lines in STI, just a thought. And then the port can direct that money where they want. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chair. The NBO's in particular had an issue with public process at the state wide tier. We have some federally recognized documents the short terms for those are the LRTP or MTP those are out long range twenty five year fiscally constrained plans that we must deliver to the fed's. They are also used for air quality conformity in places that have negative air quality determinations. Right now there was no way to communicate what was in those plans to the state wide tier other than if we decided we didn't like a project to take it out of the local TIP. And we don't think that's a good way to do business it forces us to be bad neighbors and bad partners with NCDOT. We'd really like to see some kind of way to get some local input on the state wide tier. Even if it's relatively small we think that it's important to show the fed's even though their state wide tier facilities they impact our local communities and there ought to be some way for all of that input that went into creating those plans. Find a way to sort of make at least a token appearance at the state wide tier. Non highway strategies this was one of the places where the NPO association we really had a lot of talk amongst ourselves about what are some things we could do that don't open up a big Pandora's box but target specific things that we wanted to look at. We really thing that the prohibition of money on some of the bike ped projects is going to hinder us in the long term. We know from twenty five years of the old equity formula that building large four lane roads isn't always a panacea economically for places. It doesn't necessarily bring about exactly what we want. Really you've got to have a combination of things a work force and talent and how do you get that by having amenities. We know from our work with the American planning association that millennial's and rising boomers both target demographics for a lot of places. They want to see these kind of spaces where they can not have to get into a car. It's a huge economic development tool. From a safety perspective looking from nineteen ninety seven to twenty twelve, sixty seven percent of pedestrian fatalities were on NCDOT roads. And we feel why is that sixty seven percent of fatalities a local responsibility? We really would like to see the state get involved again in the bike ped issue. We think it's important. On the rural side it's very important. There's federal dollars sitting out there that their having trouble getting access to. If you want to do a federal project there's a lot of cumbersome reporting that comes along with it so your not going to submit a small project it's not worth your time. But some of these rural areas, towns under five thousand have specific money set aside for them by the fed's can't access that money because they don't have the match to do that big of a project. That's where the state use to step in and take care of that. And right now that money is gone and we're not able to get at those funds effectively. We also would like to see cities and towns in particular have new ways to get a revenue. If we are going to push that responsibility down on the local governments, right now there is a disconnect because counties are not in the road business. But counties are the place where we have that ability to levy the quarter cent sales tax. Finding some of these ways. Cities are left holding the bag and only able to generate that through property tax revenue and that has really been a non-starter for cities. So we just ask you for help trying to find ways for cities in particular to try and raise that transportation revenue so that
They can help to fill that gap. And that concludes the presentation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have one quick question. So are you advocating for us to turn the streets over to the counties and the cities? I just wanted to make sure I was clear on that. Okay. Any questions from the committee? Having none, thank you so much gentlemen. Thank you mister chair. I'd like to take a moment of personal privilege here and I wanted, we're talking about a lot of funding projects throughout the state, and I'd like to thank the House for their leadership and their vote yesterday. I know y'all have another one today but I wanna thank y'all for what y'all are doing for the gas tax. Also, I wanted to reach out to everyone in the audience that's been an advocate for helping stabilize the funding for transportation. I wanna thank y'all for what y'all are doing. I know y’all been doing some hard work meeting with not only the Senate but the House, and also a lot of peer groups. So I wanna thank y'all for what y'all are doing. Also, I wanna thank the House for y'all's leadership. Senator Rabon or anyone else have anything for the committee? Okay. With that being said, we stand adjourned. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I've got a meeting with Rucho. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You've got a meeting with Rucho?