VDOT and DRPT staff presented the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) with a set of proposed changes to the SMART SCALE program to the for consideration and approval in advance of Round 3, which opens in March, 2018. During “Round 2” of SMART SCALE FY-2017, only about $1 billion was available to fund about $9 billion worth of projects. Following the first two rounds of the program, State DOT staff has been evaluating ways in which the program may be improved.
State DOT staff is recommending a limit on the number of projects for which a government entity may apply in any given round. Specifically, a limit of 4 applications for localities with a population less than 200,000, and 8 applications for localities with a population more than 200,000. For MPOs/PDCs/Transit Agencies, a limit of 4 applications for regions with a population less than 500,000, and 8 applications for a region with a population larger than 500,000.
Other Proposed Changes
Biennial schedule and deadlines
- March 1, 2018 application intake beginning
- June 1, 2018 deadlines for creation of an application
- August 1, 2018 submission deadline
Project Readiness and Eligibility
Formalize and strengthen policy on required level of project planning:
- For a new interchange on limited access facility, an Interchange Justification report (IJR) with preferred alternative must be completed.
- For grade separation of an at-grade intersection, at-grade improvement options have been assessed
- For a new signal, signal warrants have been met and signal justified
- For a major widening, corridor optimization and alternatives to new lanes have been evaluated
- The application must demonstrate that a project has public support and requires a resolution of support from the governing body
If the project scope is mostly the repair or replacement of existing assets (State of Good Repair), then it is not eligible for SMART SCALE. Examples of ineligible projects include:
- Signal system replacement (mast arms, signal heads)
- Bridge replacement with wider lane widths and/or pedestrian accommodations
For more information on the way projects are scored see the latest technical guide as of August 2017.
- Person throughput – scale based on length
- Remove DUI crashes and use blended rate for fatal and severe injury crashes
Accessibility – A.1 and A.2 - Access to Jobs
- Eliminate the 45 and 60-minute cap for auto and transit job access respectively
Economic Development - ED.1 - Site Development
- Zoned properties must get primary access from project
- Remove 0.5 points for consistent with local and regional plans - project specifically referenced in local comp plan or regional economic development strategy = 0.5 points
- Project within economically distressed area up to 0.5 points
- Reduce buffer to max of 3 miles
- Conceptual (0.5, 1) vs detailed site plans (2, 4 points) – points based on whether submitted or approved
- Considering establishment of maximum square footage based on project type and based on current level of development - cannot exceed x% of total current square footage in jurisdiction(s)
Economic Development - ED.2 - Intermodal Access
- Scale freight tonnage-based measure by the length of the improvement
- More specific definitions of mixed-use development
- New methodology - Accessibility to key non-work destinations such as grocery, healthcare, education, etc.
SMART SCALE is the transportation needs identification and project selection methodology used in the Virginia Statewide Transportation Plan known as VTRANS 2040. For more information on SMART SCALE please click here. For a quick preview of VTRANS 2040 and its components, click here, or click here for more detailed information.