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This summary provides tribal decisionmakers and planners with a brief summary of the process for prioritizing transportation projects. It is based on the module Project Prioritization, which is one of twelve modules in the series Transportation Decisionmaking: Information Tools for Tribal Governments produced by the FHWA Office of Planning to educate tribal planners and decisionmakers about the tribal transportation planning process and to provide them with program information.
Project prioritization is a method for listing, in order of importance, projects that are critical to the success of the tribal transportation program.
Project prioritization is important for three main reasons:
Having a list of prioritized projects will improve communication with the FHWA, State DOT, and the BIA.
Certain Federal laws tie funding allocation to project prioritization. Project prioritization may be one of the criteria to determine if a tribe is eligible for Federal funds.
Creating a prioritized list of projects, which is drawn from and supported in the tribe’s Long Range Transportation Plan, defines the tribe’s transportation needs.
There are five basic steps:
|Step 1. Identify projects|
|This step identifies transportation projects that are important to the tribe.Tribal transportation projects may be found in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the transportation element of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and/or any project lists developed by the tribe. This step also requires field work and data collection to update the information for each project.|
|Step 2. Seek Public Input|
|This step involves meeting with the tribal community and obtaining their feedback and comments. It helps to determine which projects are most important to the community and why.|
|Step 3. Develop Criteria and Performance Based Evaluation Methods|
|During this step, prioritization criteria are applied to the initial list of tribal transportation projects.The projects are then evaluated based on how fully they meet each criterion. This results in a list of projects in order of importance, with the first project being most important, and the last being least important.|
|Step 4. Report Findings and Seek Consensus|
|This step involves returning to the community and/or the tribal governing body, and seeking consensus on the prioritization order of the project list.|
|Step 5. Put it All Together|
|The final step involves developing a final prioritization list entitled the Tribal Priority List, the Tribal Transportation Improvement Program, or both; submitting this to Tribal Council for approval; and requesting a Tribal Resolution endorsing the Tribal Priority List.The next step is that the Tribal Council (or tribal transportation official) transmits the tribal council resolution and Tribal Priority List to Federal and State agencies to support requests for funding.|
This module is closely aligned with five others: Long Range Transportation Plan, Tribal Transportation Improvement Program, Funding Sources, Financial Planning, and Partnering and Leveraging. Having a prioritized list of projects will increase opportunities for funding and future partnerships.
The figure below shows how each of the twelve modules in the series relate to each other:
Theresa Hutchins, FHWA Office of Planning
Phone: (360) 753-9402
Michelle Noch, FHWA Office of Planning
Phone: (202) 366-9206
Kyle Kitchel, FHWA Western Federal Lands High Division
Phone: (360) 619-7951
Brian Beltyon, FHWA Resource Center
Phone: (410) 962-0086
Transportation Planning Capacity Building Website: http://www.planning.dot.gov/focus_tribal.asp
FHWA Tribal Transportation Planning: www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/processes/tribal/index.cfm