The Metropolitan Council has signed off on a large slate of metro-area transportation projects to add to the state’s list of projects recommended for federal funding. The region’s $3.5 billion package of projects called the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, is a collection of hundreds of local highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects in the queue for federal consideration.
Among the new projects added to the region’s TIP are 55 local projects that were recommended last year for $218 million in federal funding through a funding review process known as the Regional Solicitation.
Projects added in the last Regional Solicitation are scheduled to begin construction in communities throughout the region between fiscal years 2018 and 2021. Among them:
I-94 interchange at Brockton Lane in Dayton
Hennepin Avenue reconstruction in Minneapolis
Foley Boulevard overpass of the BNSF Railroad in Coon Rapids
202nd Street reconstruction in Lakeville
SouthWest Transit regular route service to the Mall of America
Construction of a Metro Transit bus garage in Minneapolis
Grand Round Trail on Como Avenue in St. Paul
I-694 interchange at Rice Street in Ramsey County
“These projects reflect local government transportation priorities,” said Nick Thompson, the Council’s Director of Metropolitan Transportation Services. “They are investments that enhance all modes of transportation in the region and help to ensure mobility, and therefore prosperity, in our growing region.”
Next, the projects are included in the State Transportation Investment Program and forwarded to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Region’s transportation funding process; a model of collaboration
The Council, in its role as the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization, is charged with overseeing the annual development of the TIP, which serves as the region’s short-term transportation investment program.
Some of the projects in the TIP are added through the competitive Regional Solicitation process, when local units of government are invited to submit projects for funding consideration.
An advisory body to the Metropolitan Council, the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), conducts the public process over many months of soliciting, reviewing, and recommending projects to include in the TIP through the Regional Solicitation. The TAB includes local elected officials, citizens, industry representatives and other public officials.
Other projects in the TIP are submitted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Metro Transit, and other transit providers.
The TIP must be “fiscally constrained,” which means planned expenditures must be consistent with anticipated revenues. In other words, it’s not a “wish list.”