Transportation Improvement Program
Under the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST), enacted in 2015, RTC is responsible for approving the programming and prioritization of all projects in the region’s four-year TIP. A new regional TIP is created after each regional federal project selection process, which generally occurs every year. The regional TIP must contain all projects utilizing federal transportation funds, as well as all regionally significant projects regardless of funding source.
RTC has primary responsibility for selecting projects to receive regional federal funds, in consultation with WSDOT and C-TRAN. While the majority of funds programmed in the regional TIP are under the selection authority of state, federal, and local agencies.
As part of the development of the regional TIP, RTC reviews all projects to ensure the following:
- Consistency with Regional Transportation Plan
- Consistency with local comprehensive plans
- Consistency with other federal and state requirements
- Funds are reasonably expected to be available
- Reasonable timeline for project implementation
Regional Project Selection Process
RTC is responsible for selecting projects for regionally allocated federal funds including the following funding programs:
- Surface Transportation Program
- The STP program is flexible and can be used for highway, transit, and planning projects.
- Congestion Management and Air Quality
- The CMAQ program is used for projects which improve air quality.
- Transportation Alternatives Program
- The TAP program is used for community improvement activities such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, viewing areas, and safe routes to schools.
Since the need for transportation improvements exceed the available revenue, a competitive project selection process is normally conducted annually for the distribution of RTC’s federal funds. The regional project selection process approach as adopted in July 1993 by the RTC Board of Directors includes the following steps:
- Project screening for consistency with federal, state, and regional policies.
- Evaluation and ranking of projects by adopted selection criteria.
- Project selection and programming based on evaluation and ranking.
The following graphic outlines the overall regional project development process: