The Duluth Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is designed to meet the following purposes:
- To ensure that federal investments are tied to planning, priorities and policies as defined in the MIC’s current Long Range Transportation Plan;
- To identify and implement transportation improvements which will increase transportation mobility, access and safety;
- To identify proposed transportation projects by mode, type of improvement, funding source(s), and geographic area;
- To identify the costs of projects proposed for federal funding, consistent with the federal funds anticipated to be available to the area.
How are TIP projects selected?
It is part of the MIC’s role as an MPO to work with state and local agencies to prioritize which of the region’s transportation services and projects should receive anticipated federal funds. All projects must be identified in the MIC’s current 25-year Long Range Transportation Plan in support of the Duluth-Superior area’s goals and transportation system needs. In addition, the MIC evaluates and prioritizes each proposal based on the following criteria:
- Regional Benefit: What are the project’s merits/benefits and intended effect upon the regional transportation network and what are the project’s estimated benefits relative to its cost?
- Mobility: How will the project improve the mobility of people and goods?
- Planning Support: How will the project incorporate the MIC’s Long Range Transportation Plan, other MIC studies and related plans and studies?
- Multimodal Connectivity: How does the project encompass multiple modes of travel?
- Environmental Impacts: Where is the project’s location and what potential environmental and community impacts does it potentially pose?
- Public Participation: What level of public participation has been undertaken or will take place for the proposed project?
Coordination with State and Regional Processes
The TIP is developed with the guidance of the MIC’s Transportation Advisory Committee and Policy Board, and prepared in cooperation with MnDOT, local transit providers and area jurisdictions as required by federal surface transportation law (FAST Act). It is made available for public comment, and submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The formal process for developing and amending a TIP is specified in the MIC’s Public Involvement Plan.
A simultaneous but separate process is held to program projects throughout the 8-county Arrowhead region, including the MIC planning area, by the Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership (NE MN ATP).
All Duluth area transportation projects that are approved and/or amended in the MIC’s TIP must also be listed in MnDOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to be able to receive federal funds.
TIP Development Timeline
For the Duluth Area TIP, the development process runs from October, when the MIC begins discussions about possible projects with eligible jurisdictions* through August of the following year, when the final TIP is approved by the MIC Policy Board.
- October: Pre-application meetings to review Long Range Plan with eligible jurisdictions*
- Nov/Dec: MIC staff distributes project applications to eligible jurisdictions*
- January: Project applications received.
- February: Project applications are put forward for public review and comment.
- March: MIC staff reviews and scores projects according to evaluation criteria and presents them to the TAC to be scored and ranked according to priority. The TAC scores the projects and staff presents the projects and the TAC scores to the MIC Policy Board for their review and approval.
- Apr/May: Project applications as prioritized by the MIC Policy Board are forwarded to the Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership (NE MN ATP) for funding consideration within the investment guidelines for that project year.
- May/Jun: Draft TIP produced and released for public comment.
- July: Public participation initiatives to encourage public review and comment.
- August: Final TIP presented for approval by MIC Policy Board.
*Eligible agencies and jurisdictions include the state of Minnesota (MnDOT), St. Louis County, cities with a population over 5,000 (Duluth and Hermantown), the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA).
Projects may be amended into the current, approved TIP throughout the year. Amendments are required if significant changes to the scope, cost or timeline for programmed projects occur; sometimes new projects may be added if new funding becomes available.
Amendments to the current TIP, along with opportunities for public comment, are noted in the ‘Updates’ section of this page.