Each year, there are typically over 300 project proposals eligible for funding through the NJTPA's Transportation Improvement Program
or TIP. But there are rarely enough resources to fund them all. The fiscal constraint mandate of federal law requires funding choices to be made among proposed projects.
To accomplish this, the NJTPA develops a prioritized (ranked) list of projects and provides this list to the state's two principal implementing agencies, NJDOT and NJ Transit. Like other Metropolitan Planning Organizations across the country, the NJTPA has established prioritization procedures to evaluate and score projects. The NJTPA’s Project Prioritization process consists of two steps:
- Application of Project Prioritization Criteria. During the development of the Project Development Work Program (PDWP), projects are evaluated and scored based on technical measures of how well they fulfill the goals of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). This is expressed in the Project Prioritization Criteria (see link in box). All projects eligible for the TIP are ranked using these scores.
- Application of Additional Priority Factors. Additional factors such as feasibility of project delivery, funding availability and project timing are then considered. This entails consultations and negotiations among the NJTPA Central Staff, professional and elected officials from the subregions, as well as staffs of the NJDOT and NJ Transit.
The NJTPA Central Staff administers the project prioritization process, with participation by the implementing agencies, the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) and the Project Prioritization Committee (PPC) of the Board of Trustees. The project scores resulting from this process are considered during development of the Proposed Capital Construction Program (CCP). The CCP is submitted to the state legislature for the appropriation of state transportation funding. The CCP becomes the basis for development of the TIP later in the year.
The project prioritization process is described in more detail in the TIP introduction.