The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has released a prioritized project list rated by its new Strategic Highway Investment Formula for Tomorrow (SHIFT) that looks at a project’s safety, congestion, asset management, economic growth and cost-benefit ratios.
The Virginia Department of Transportation instituted a similar project assessment program called SMART SCALE last year.
KYTC says it has evaluated and scored more than 1,100 projects using SHIFT, a program directed by Gov. Matt Bevin to prioritize spending in particular for review of the $2.6 billion estimated available for fiscal years 2018-2024.
“With limited dollars to spend, we must make wise investments that improve safety for our citizens, increase mobility and drive the state’s economy,” says Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas. “SHIFT is a tool to help us propose a prioritized and balanced Highway Plan to present to the governor and lawmakers.”
The agency reports projects were identified and ranked based on “statewide significance” and those interstates and highways that “move people and goods” across the state and from Kentucky to other states.
The prioritized list includes 70 projects that are part of the National Highway system. They will be considered for funding through a statewide funding pool to be designated in the state highway plan released later this year.
Projects will next be ranking transportation projects within regions of the state – North, South, East and West – each made up of three districts. Local transportation officials, KYTC says, will meet to prioritize projects.
Thomas also says the upcoming highway plan will include $205 million more each year for repairing and replacing older bridges and roads. The state has more than 1,100 structurally deficient bridges and more than 3,700 miles of roadway needing “significant” repair. The agency reports a $1 billion backlog of pavement improvements.
“We must take better care of the roads and bridges that motorists depend on today,” Thomas says. “The backlog of deteriorating infrastructure is significant and we must invest more resources to preserve our existing system.”
More details on the shift program, including a list of projects, are available at https://transportation.ky.gov/SHIFT.