Every year about this time I update my goals for the next year, and spend some time thinking about what I would like the year ahead and longer to look like. I would like to share with you some things I am seeing in transportation that may, or may not come to pass. I don’t have a crystal ball, or any insider information and could be totally wrong, but these are things that I am seeing. You might see them too.
- Funding levels are flat, if not going downward. However the cost of projects is still going up. With that in mind I see that, on the whole, transportation projects will be moving away from adding new capacity (meaning new roads), to just trying to maintain what we already have.
- Speaking of funding. No matter which political party wins the next elections, I think it is safe to say that both parties will be getting very low marks for “playing well with others”. Congress funds all of this, and we still need a Transportation bill so we don’t have to go from one continuing resolution to the next. It looks like the safe bet is on gridlock. That is NOT very good for the funding of long term projects.
- More and more local programs projects will be managed by the local governments as opposed to TDOT managing them. No shocker here. The local programs process has come a long way and this is a trend that is continuing.
- This will be a growth year for TDOT local programs. We have two new faces with Larry Mcgoogin, and Anna Shell. Sandra Bottom starts here November 10th, and we are in the process of interviewing for a Transportation Manager I.
The good news is that once these people are up and running the capacity of the office will dramatically increase. The down side is that this train up will take time. The things we do here are complicated. Honestly it takes a least a year before someone is 65% effective, and probably 3-5 years before they are 100%. It took me about 6 months working here before I could figure out what to tell my family I did here.
I hope this helps to put things in perspective and give you a little insight into the local programs world as I see it.