The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is the agreed-upon multiyear list of specific projects for which federal funds are anticipated. Required by federal law, the TIP represents the transportation improvement priorities of the Greater Columbia Metropolitan Area. The list of projects is multi-modal and includes highway and public transit projects, as well as bicycle, pedestrian, and freight-related projects.
The TIP also represents the translation of recommendations from the COATS MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and UPWP into a short-term program of tangible transportation improvements. All TIP projects are evaluated to assure consistency with the community goals and objectives established in the LRTP. The majority of projects in the TIP are aimed at increasing the efficiency and safety of the existing transportation system, rather than construction of new facilities. In addition, all TIP projects must be in conformance with air quality requirements. Representing the culmination of the transportation planning process, the TIP signifies a consensus among local, state and regional officials as to what improvements to pursue, thereby establishing eligibility for federal funding. Changes are routinely made to the TIP through amendments or administrative modifications. These adjustments are provided in the “amended” tables noted below.
The 2009-2015 TIP for the COATS area is a seven-year program of transportation capital projects together with a seven-year estimate of transit capital and maintenance requirements. While the
TIP is usually approved biennially; the document may be amended throughout the year. SAFETEA-LU, as well as the Metropolitan Planning Regulations mandates that a TIP comprise the following:
- Identify transportation improvement projects recommended for advancement during the program years. The projects required are those located within the study area and receiving and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds;
- Identify the criteria and process for prioritization for inclusion of projects in the TIP and any changes from past TIPs;
- Groups improvements of similar urgency and anticipated staging into appropriate staging periods;
- Include realistic estimates of total costs and revenue for the program period;
- Include a discussion of how improvements recommended from the Long Range Transportation Plan and Congestion Management Plan were merged into the plan;
- List major projects from previous TIPs that were implemented and identify and major delays in planned implementation;
The TIP may also include regional highway projects that are being implemented by the State, City and County for which federal funding is requested.
Title VI Compliance
Investments made in the TIP must be consistent with federal Title VI requirements. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, income, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Public outreach to and involvement of individuals in low income and minority communities covered under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and subsequent Civil Rights Restoration Act, and series of federal statues enacted pertaining to environmental justice, are critical to regional planning and programming decisions. The fundamental principles of environmental justice include:
- Avoiding, minimizing or mitigating disproportionately high and adverse health or environmental effects on minority and low-income populations;
- Ensuring full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process; and
- Preventing the denial, reduction or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority populations and low-income communities.
- The decision process by which new projects are selected for inclusion in the TIP must consider equitable solicitation and selection of project candidates in accordance with federal Title VI requirements.
- The COATS Title VI Plan appears in Appendix A.
The TIP must be financially constrained, meaning that the amount of funding programmed must not exceed the amount of funding estimated to be available. In developing the 2009-2015 TIP, COATS has taken into consideration the transportation funding revenues expected to be available during the seven years of the TIP (Federal FY 2008-2009 through FY 2014-2015), and has found the 2009-2015TIP to be financially constrained.
Should an action occur in the future that significantly affects the funding of programmed projects in the TIP, COATS along with its partners and the project sponsors would review the actual impact to the TIP. Appropriate action, such as a possible TIP amendment, addressing the funding of the affected projects would be taken at that time.
The number of years of programming included in the TIP varies by fund source. All seven years of programming in the 2009-2015 TIP, Fiscal Years (FYs) 2009-10 through 2014-15, will be officially adopted by the State as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan. In the case of some projects, carryover funding from prior TIPs is included and noted as “prior year carryover funding.” In addition, estimated funding for projects in future years (the estimated out years of FY 2011-12 through 2014-15) is included for information.
TIP Amendment Request Submittal
To request a TIP amendment, a project sponsor must submit an amendment proposal, requesting to amend the TIP. COATS programming staff will review the submitted request for compliance with federal regulations, state statutes and regional polices, including funding completeness, impacts to air quality, financial constraint and for compliance with other federal, state and regional requirements before approving the submitted application or amendment. If the proposal is found not to conform to the funding program guidelines or is inconsistent with the financial constraint of the TIP or if the proposal violates the region’s air quality conformity analysis, or adversely impact the timely implementation of TSM projects, the proposal may not be processed.
Projects that impact air quality may need to be further reviewed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and SCDOT. Generally, changes that require a new air quality conformity analysis will need to wait until the next TIP update.
Proposed additions or changes to projects contained in the TIP must also conform to the amendment rules of the funding program involved (e.g. if the project is funded with guideshare funds, it must also conform to the federal and state amendment guidelines before it can be processed).
Relationship of the TIP to other State and Federal Transportation Programs
Just as each metropolitan region is required to develop a TIP, each state is required to develop a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) pursuant to federal regulations. The STIP includes all federally funded transportation projects from throughout the State. In South Carolina, MPO TIPs are included in the STIP without modification once approved by the relevant Metropolitan Planning Organization (COATS, in the case of the Columbia Metropolitan Area) and after the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) make their required financial constraint and air quality findings. Projects must be in the STIP before funding authorities, such as FTA, FHWA, or the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT); can “obligate” funds (i.e., commit funds to contract) and therefore, before sponsors can actually spend any of these moneys.
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