North Carolina sets 10-year transportation development plan

North Carolina is looking to a new data-driven approach for the state’s upcoming 10-year transportation improvement plan, in hopes of making the most efficient use of the available budget and resources as the state moves forward with the plan.

The North Carolina Board of Transportation approved the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program on Thursday, which was the state’s first to use the new data-based Strategic Mobility Plan.

“This new data-driven formula takes the politics out of transportation and allows us to invest in more projects that will increase safety, reduce congestion and enhance economic competitiveness," North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said.

The plan calls for more than 1,100 new transportation infrastructure improvements and projects over the next decade. The plan would divide funds between local and statewide projects: 40 percent to state concerns and the other 60 percent divided between local and regional projects.

Transportation authorities in the state are confident in the new strategic mobility plan, which they estimate has increased the amount of highway projects in North Carolina by 273 percent. They also estimate the projects will generate around 300,000 new jobs in the state, compared with the 174,000 old methods might have produced.

Highways won’t get all the new plan’s attention. An additional 141 non-highway projects are planned including improvements for ferries, aviation, rail, bikes and pedestrians. Many of North Carolina’s bridges will also receive safety maintenance.