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    The NEGRC’s Planning & Government Services Division recently released a new guide for transportation planning & prioritization. The PGS Division is also offering technical assistance to communities wishing to assess their transportation needs and prioritize improvements and expansions.

    During development of the 2018 update to the Northeast Georgia Regional Plan, stakeholders identified the need for local governments to address aging infrastructure and allocate limited resources efficiently, especially in regards to transportation.  In response, the Regional Commission has published a guide for cities and counties to conduct transportation planning and prioritization activities.  Staff are available to provide direct assistance to local governments in these areas.

    Transportation Planning & Prioritization: A Guide for Local Governments presents a review of best practices in the field; context on how Northeast Georgia communities handle transportation decision-making; a suggested transportation prioritization process for cities and counties; a local case study from the region; and a debrief and evaluation.

    Based on the Guide’s findings, the NEGRC recommends that local governments adhere to the following steps:

    1. Determine values and principles through a public process;
    2. Select criteria and metrics to evaluate candidate projects;
    3. Rank projects as part of a clear, concise, and unbiased methodology;
    4. Implement through a phase-based work program that includes immediately actionable projects and a shovel-ready list to leverage funding opportunities; and
    5. Evaluate and adapt the implementation program and the prioritization process to account for successes and lessons learned.

    The Planning and Government Services Division is prepared to provide transportation prioritization services for cities and counties, including development of tailored documents that fit the needs of individual communities.  Staff will follow the steps cited above to facilitate public and stakeholder involvement, work with leadership to rank projects based on criteria unique to each community, and formulate implementation and evaluation frameworks.  If the local comprehensive plan’s short-term work program identifies the need for transportation planning or prioritization, the NEGRC may be able to cost-share the project with state funding for a reduced local fee.

    Contact John Devine, AICP, NEGRC Principal Planner, at jdevine@negrc.org more information.

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