July 20th, 2011

COMMENT ON TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

Each year during the month of July, UDOT seeks comments on the Draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, a proposed six year work plan of  projects. 

The Sam White Bridge, part of the I-15 CORE Project currently under construction in Utah County. The Bridge was built off-site and moved spring 2011.

The Draft STIP includes current and planned projects and lists funding sources for each project.  Maintenance projects are shown individually in the STIP under a single Program line Item. The Draft STIP can be found online or by going to locations listed in this STIP Public Notice. The Draft STIP will be finalized on October 1, 2011. 

The purpose of the STIP is to “let the public know how their tax money is spent,” explains Robert Pelly, UDOT STIP Coordinator. The STIP is maintained on a transparent and real time database and provides a critical tool for UDOT to interface with Federal Highway Administration officials.

Although few comments are usually received,  each comment is directed to the appropriate agency or UDOT region and all comments requiring response are answered as soon as possible. “All comments are valuable to somebody somewhere within UDOT,” says Pelly.

“We live in this cycle.”

More than just a list of projects, the STIP development process is a massive effort that requires coordination with the public, transportation agencies and local government officials to identify projects and funding.  The yearly STIP cycle is an “open dialog with the public so UDOT can understand what’s important when it comes to transportation.” Steps in the process include workshops, public comment and approval from UDOT Regions, the Utah Transportation Commission, FHWA, and the Federal Transit Administration.  An active STIP is always maintained concurrently with the Draft STIP under development.

UDOT “works as one entity” with Utah Metropolitan Planning Organizations during the STIP Cycle, says Pelly. MPO’s throughout the state maintain a Transportation Improvement Plan, or TIP, that lists planned and current transportation and transit projects.

Best Practice

UDOT’s STIP document was recently recognized as a “best practice” from the Federal Highway Administration for the careful and thorough way the STIP is presented. FHWA designates a best practice to provide examples for other states to follow.

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