Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

TRANSPORTATION

Long-Range Transportation Plan
Project Presentation Information

Transportation Plans

Thank you for your project and/or plan request to the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS) earlier this year.  We are proud to have developed a single vision and direction to guide the region forward over the next 25 years.  This is the first time that a comprehensive land use, farmland preservation, economic, environmental, infrastructure, community facilities, parks and recreation, cultural, health and equity strategy has been linked to transportation planning and investment.

A link to the draft plan can be found at https://www.lvpc.org/futurelv.html

The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study voted at its joint meeting of the Technical and Coordinating Committees on August 7, 2019 to release the draft FutureLV: The Regional Plan for a 45-day public review and comment period.  As part of this review and comment period, project sponsors are invited to present to the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study. The presentations are scheduled for August 26, August 28 and September 3, from 9 am to 3:30 pm each day, at the 1002 Hamilton Street, Allentown office of The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 5.  Please see the project presentation guidelines and schedule link below for your date, time, format and detailed instructions of what the presentations should include and how they’ll be evaluated.

  • Project Presentation Guidelines and Schedule

There are several key points that all project requestors need to know:

1. ALL ELIGIBLE/POTENTIALLY ELIGIBLE PROJECTS

  1. The role of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in partnership with PennDOT, is to:
         i.    Draft goals, policies and priorities for the safety, maintenance, asset management and performance of the
               infrastructure and transit systems, in accordance with federal regulations, including national security.
         ii.    Vet all project requests for eligibility for state and federal funds.
         iii.   Review the accuracy of each project’s proposed budget
         iv.   Review the proposed projects for consistency with the goals, policies and actions in the draft
               FutureLV: The Regional Plan,
         v.   Develop a draft list of regionally significant projects that is within the assigned budget for presentation to the
               MPO Board, in this case the LVTS.
         vi.   Develop a list of unmet needs for presentation to the LVTS.
         vii.  Make sure that the list is organized by four-year budget cycle, spending only what is allocated for that four
               years, while applying a 3% per year, compounded inflation factor to project budgets.
  2. As you are receiving this communication, the LVPC staff and PENNDOT, believe that your proposed project or plan may be eligible for state and or federal transportation funding, and appears to be consistent with the draft goals, policies and actions in the draft FutureLV: The Regional Plan.  All eligible/potentially eligible projects are in the draft plan and associated project sponsors have been invited to present to the LVTS.

2. THE DRAFT FUTURELV: THE REGIONAL PLAN IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING PROCESS

  1. As noted during the open call for transportation projects, the draft FutureLV: The Regional Plan is step one in the federal infrastructure planning, management and funding process.  In general, being listed in the plan, whether as a regionally significant project or an unmet need, is all a project sponsor needs  to move to the next step in the process. The draft FutureLV: The Regional Plan is a Long-Range Transportation Plan,  per federal requirements and sets the goals, policies and actions for transportation for the next 25 years.  It is a plan, not a funding program.  Funding decisions are made during the Transportation Improvement Program or TIP process, which occurs every two years  The next TIP update begins in 2020, after the adoption of the Long-Range Transportation Plan/FutureLV.

3. LESS MONEY AVAILABLE

  1. The State Legislature reduced funding for transportation in the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Budget.  As a result, PennDOT  reduced funding to every region in the Commonwealth.  The allocation to the Lehigh Valley for bridge and highway funding was reduced by $380 million over the next 12 years, and an estimated $616.8 million over the next 25 years – a reduction of 29%.  The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and PENNDOT District 5-0 were formally notified on July 16, 2019 of the reduction.
  2. The state funding is generally a 20% match to the 80% federal transportation infrastructure dollars.  Less state funding will make it harder to meet federal match requirements. Applicants will be asked if they have a contributing match available during the project presentation process.  Please come prepared to answer this question.

4. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHANGES FOR INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY, HAVE AFFECTED THE PROJECT SELECTION PROCESS

  1. The Federal Highway Administration gave notice to PennDOT and MPOs that its  funding philosophy was changing from a ‘fix the worst first’ to a systems-management approach.  This new approach comes from the FAST ACT, adopted by Congress, and requires the establishment of performance measures for safety, road and bridge conditions, interstate and non-interstate performance, freight, air quality and congestion.   Simultaneously, with the drafting of FutureLV: The Regional Plan, LVTS and PENNDOT adopted a series of performance measures to comply with federal law and associated deadlines.  All projects will need to support the performance measures per federal requirements.

5. FUNDING REQUEST DISCLOSURE

  1. LVTS members are eligible to request projects for inclusion in the Long-Range Transportation Plan.  The Metropolitan Planning Organization received project applications from the following LVTS voting members
         i.     Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
         ii.    Lehigh County
         iii.   Northampton County
         iv.   LANta
         v.    City of Allentown
         vi.   City of Bethlehem
         vii.  City of Easton
  2. The LVTS has taken and will continue to take steps to ensure that all project requests are reviewed fairly and in accordance with state and federal laws to mitigate any conflict(s).  This includes an entirely public process for the distribution, presentation, review and revision of the long-range transportation plan, including all plan elements.

On behalf of the LVTS, we look forward to learning more about your transportation project requests and thank you for your patience as we navigate these funding cuts and federal policy changes.  We also thank you for your assistance, contributions and partnership in developing a strategic vision and path forward for the entire Lehigh Valley.  Together, we will balance the pressures of growth and development with preservation of both our land and our infrastructure system.

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

961 Marcon Boulevard - Suite 310

Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 264-4544

Toll Free: (888) 627-8808

Fax: (610) 264-2616