RTA Priority: Create a low-cost mobility fund to accelerate low-cost congestion relief projects

Update – in summer 2017 the NC state budget approved by the legislature created a Mobility and Modernization Fund that will dedicate $44 million in annual funds statewide to accelerate low-cost, congestion relief projects.

The regional business community constantly seeks faster ways to fund lower cost projects, and established the creation of a low-cost mobility fund as our third-highest priority for 2017.  The newly-approved mobility and modernization fund will focus on accelerating smaller projects to provide congestion relief in a timely manner.

The Strategic Transportation Investments process has removed politics from transportation prioritization, and that has advanced a number of major projects for our region and state. However, there are a few challenges for smaller projects:

  • The number of highway projects under $5 million submitted to SPOT is limited due to the caps on project submittals and by the funding metrics, which are geared toward larger projects
  • Highway projects under $5 million represent just over 1% of total highway funding recommended statewide through the SPOT process
  • The SPOT process can add up to a year and a half to project delivery timelines, which is substantial for small operational improvements with minimal right-of-way and environmental impacts where immediate solutions are needed

The mobility and modernization fund would complement the success of STI for smaller projects, such as advancing potential rapid intersection improvements to the Multimodal 54 corridor between I-40 and Chapel Hill and various roads and streets regionwide.

Current and Recent Efforts

  • RTA successfully worked with NCDOT, the legislature, and other partners to identify a method to accelerate low-cost congestion relief projects in 2017.
  • RTA has initiated a traffic congestion task force of RTA members to identify areas of traffic congestion and potential simple traffic relief solutions.

NCDOT strategic transportation investments process:  https://www.ncdot.gov/strategictransportationinvestments/