• Each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is required to develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)—a comprehensive listing of the area’s federally funded transportation improvements planned for the short range (next 4 years).
• 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).
• The draft TIP is made available for a 30-day public comment period, in mid-June.
How are TIP projects selected?
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, which include:
• 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
A simultaneous but separate process is held to program projects throughout the 8-county Arrowhead region 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*
- December: MIC staff distributes project applications to eligible jurisdictions*
- February: Project applications are received and put forward for first round of public review and comment.
- March: Project applications are approved by the MIC Policy Board to be forwarded to the Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership (NE MN ATP) for funding consideration within the investment guidelines for that project year.
- Apr/May: Staff begins work on the TIP document and projects are approved by the NE MN ATP)
- June: Draft TIP produced and released for 30-day public comment period.
- July: Public participation initiatives are conducted to encourage public review and comment.
- August: Final TIP presented for approval by MIC Policy Board. The final TIP is submitted for approvals by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
*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 usually modify existing projects as changes to the scope, cost or timeline for programmed projects occur. Sometimes new projects may be added if new funding becomes available. The formal processes for developing and amending a TIP are specified in the MIC’s Public Involvement Plan.