Central Texas transportation planning group approves criteria changes to how it selects projects for funding

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization changed the selection process for the upcoming 2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program call for projects. The TIP will include projects that will receive federal funding or are deemed regionally significant.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization changed the selection process for the upcoming 2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program call for projects. The TIP will include projects that will receive federal funding or are deemed regionally significant.

How regional Central Texas transportation projects are funded will be changing in January after the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s policy board voted unanimously in favor of a new set of selection criteria for doling out funding.

The selection criteria system created by CAMPO’s executive committee comprising local elected officials and creates a ranking out of submitted projects from area cities and counties based on criteria such as congestion and mobility, safety, regional impact, land use and more. Each set of criteria has a value ranging from 5 to 20 to determine its weight in the ranking of the project.

The top-ranked projects are then presented for public input, according to the committee.

After discussion among members of the board and the committee about the system ranking both urban and rural projects fairly, the board voted in favor of two amendments that made criteria language broader to encourage a greater variety of project ideas.

This resulted in the addition of a separate criteria category for travel demand management as suggested by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and language that encouraged innovation as a contributing factor to a project’s ranking as suggested by Alison Alter, District 10 Austin City Council member.

Adler said he was pleased with the steps taken to decrease subjectivity in choosing projects submitted during the call for projects.

“I really appreciate the work the staff has done. I think this is a real step forward with respect to the criteria,” Adler said.

CAMPO is responsible for a six-county region that includes Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. The policy board comprises local elected officials from those six counties.

In January, the organization will begin accepting calls for projects in the CAMPO-served counties to distribute $400 million worth of funds allocated to the 2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify who created the criteria.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.