The Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) Law provides funding for capital transportation projects and is mandated by State law. Certain transit projects can only receive funding by going through the state’s strategic prioritization process which is the platform used to fulfill the STI law with regards to project evaluation. Transit systems must coordinate with their MPO or RPO and the Integrated Mobility Division (IMD) on this process. All independent bicycle and pedestrian projects are funded through the state’s strategic prioritization process. Local entities must coordinate with their MPO or RPO for project submittals.
Legal Requirements: The Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) Law was passed in 2013 and creates a formula that prioritizes capital needs for transportation. The formula is known as the Strategic Mobility Formula (SMF). State funds provided by the Highway Trust Fund are allocated based on this formula. Currently, IMD funds expansion vehicles, facilities, and fixed guideway projects through this process. IMD can only provide financial support to these types of projects if they successfully score through the prioritization process. Independent bicycle and pedestrian projects are funded with federal transportation funds plus a local contribution – state funds are not legislatively permitted to be used for constructing independent bicycle and pedestrian projects. NCDOT Transportation Divisions, MPOs, and RPOs submit projects on behalf of the transit systems and local governments.
Prioritization: The SMF scores projects that are submitted through the State’s strategic prioritization process. Prioritization cycles occur every two (2) years and plan projects for the next 10 years. For more information about prioritization, visit the NCDOT website.
Coordination with MPO and RPO: MPOs and RPOs submit projects on behalf of the transit systems and local governments and assign weighted points to all projects. This requires regular communication and coordination between transit systems and local governments and their MPO or RPO. Projects submitted in a prioritization cycle may not receive funding for multiple years due to competition within modal scoring and scoring across all modes.
Funding Request Adjustments: Transit systems can request any dollar amount through STI and should account for an increased price in vehicles, etc. IMD cannot provide additional funding beyond what has scored through STI.
Local Match: Local governments are required to provide a local match (20%) for independent bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Local Plan: Bicycle and pedestrian projects submitted through the state’s strategic prioritization process must be identified in a locally adopted plan.
Local Share Certification: Transit systems earning projects that are awarded through STI are required to submit a local share certification before funds are formally allocated to the transit system.
Project Award: Projects that are funded are submitted in the STIP by NCDOT in coordination with the MPO or RPO. Transit systems will receive their funding through IMD utilizing the EBS portal. Funding will be awarded in the fiscal year in which the project receives funding.