The Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln MPO is responsible for prioritizing the identified local transportation needs and then identifying funding sources to help meet these needs. Much of the funding that is used to pay for transportation projects and programs come from the US Department of Transportation, through the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. These agencies then pass through the majority of funds to the NCDOT, which in turn either allocates funds to the MPO to assign to projects or prioritizes projects in consultation with the MPO through the Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) program.
The State of North Carolina passed into law new transportation legislation on June 26, 2013 that created the STI program, and all project types, including public transportation, highway, bicycle, pedestrian, ferry, aviation, and rail freight projects compete for funding through this program, which is conducted every two years.
The NCDOT and other agencies receive much of their capital funds through the federal surface transportation program. The current version of the program is called the FAST Act, and is explained below.
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act.” It is the first law enacted in over ten years that provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation, meaning States and local governments can move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, with the confidence that they will have a Federal partner over the long term. Secretary Foxx and his team at U.S. DOT have worked tirelessly to advocate for a long term bill, underscoring the needed sense of urgency to the American people.
As Secretary Foxx said, “After hundreds of Congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty – and 36 short term extensions – it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill. It’s not perfect, and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.”
Overall, the FAST Act largely maintains current program structures and funding shares between highways and transit. It is a down-payment for building a 21st century transportation system, increasing funding by 11 percent over five years. This is far short of the amount needed to reduce congestion on our roads and meet the increasing demands on our transportation systems. In comparison, the Administration’s proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act, increases funding by 45 percent.
The law also makes changes and reforms to many Federal transportation programs, including streamlining the approval processes for new transportation projects, providing new safety tools, and establishing new programs to advance critical freight projects.
– See more at the U.S. Department of Transportation