Much more planning and, maybe, less politics.
That’s Gov. Bev Perdue’s new recipe for professional decision-making at the state Department of Transportation.
Perdue announced details today of her pledge to move the Board of Transportation — whose members are appointed by the governor to represent different parts of the state — away from its former job of deciding which roads and bridges get built, where and when.
In the future, the board will set policy. DOT employees, under Secretary Gene Conti, will decide where the money is spent “based on data and input from local government and planning groups,” Perdue said. Conti will brief board members on the details Wednesday.
They’ll be measured on their performance and guided by a triple layer of new statewide plans:
* A 20-year long-range plan to establish how the state transportation system should look and what steps are needed to get there.
* A 10-year program and resources plan that outlines funding and sets priorities for projects based on measures including crash rates, traffic loads, and pavement and bridge conditions. The state board will approve this plan.
* A 5-year work program. This spells out how DOT employees will spend maintenance and operation funds, implement the 20-year plan and meet the 10-year funding targets.
“This new professional decision-making process for transportation projects aims at taking politics out of the process,” Perdue said in press release. “The new process will increase accountability and openness and ensure that transportation projects are prioritized appropriately.”