The Central Mississippi Planning and Development District (CMPDD) announced the Jackson Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved $20.1 million in Federal Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) funding for metro-area transportation projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving the safety and efficiency of the regional transportation system. The STBG program is a federal-aid transportation program that provides funding through the MPO to local municipalities and counties for transportation improvements in the urbanized area.
“Transportation is about providing options to keep everyone moving. Funding approved today will support community-based projects that integrate transportation enhancements and provides for new economic development opportunities in the metro-area,” said Brandon Mayor Butch Lee, Chairman of the MPO Policy Committee.
Funding for these projects is available through the MPO as part of the 2015 Transportation Bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
This year, the MPO focused on providing funding to projects that can be completed in a relatively short timeframe, and that address safety, pavement condition, and congestion concerns.
“One important thing to note is this process is one step further toward implementation of a federally required Regional Transportation Plan. Each project selected represents only a small piece of a much larger long-term transportation plan,” according to Mike Monk, CEO of CMPDD.
In total, the CMPDD received 42 applications requesting more than $34 million in funding. However, the MPO only has enough funds available to fund the top twenty-six (26) rated projects. Combined, cities and counties receiving the $20.1 million in transportation funding have committed to provide over $8.6 million in local matching funds.
Projects selected for funding such as resurfacing Clinton Parkway and installing upgraded traffic signals at Old Canton Road and Lakeland Drive should be completed in a relatively short timeframe (1 to 2 years) while other projects such as the widening of Old Brandon Road will take a lengthier timeframe to complete.
Local jurisdictions submitted applications to CMPDD back in October 2016. The applications were then graded and evaluated based on the proposed project type (bridge repair, traffic operational improvement, capacity deficiency, pavement management, or small municipality) category. The scoring criteria for each project type varies slightly, but in general projects were rated based on:
- Whether or not the project provided more than the minimum required local matching funds.
- What percentage of the total funds available did the project request? Projects requesting the least amount of Federal funding received priority.
- Whether or not the project is ready to go to construction. Projects ready to proceed to construction were given priority over projects that may still have design work and/or utility and right-of-way factors to address.
- In addition, projects were evaluated on elements specific to each project category such as pavement condition, daily traffic volume, bridge sufficiency ratings, or travel time delays.
Projects rating the highest in each category were selected by the MPO Policy Committee to receive Federal STBG grant funding by the Jackson MPO.