Policy Programs and Performance Bureau Programs
System Impact Action Process Section
The System Impact Action Process (SIAP) Section provides a coordinated review of projects initiated outside of MDT that may significantly and permanently impact the state's transportation system. The review process aims to provide private developers a single point of contact for requesting access to the state's highways, while also protecting the taxpayers' investment in a safe and efficient transportation system. The SIAP review also ensures that MDT's permitting process does not precede necessary environmental processes for these non-MDT initiated actions. SIAP review staff also serve as MDT's point of contact for non-MDT initiated National and Montana Environmental Policy Act (NEPA/MEPA) and Major Facility Siting Act reviews that may impact the state's transportation systems.
Civil Engineering Specialist
MDT Comments on Federal Rulemaking
Transportation Planning staff coordinates MDT’s involvement in national transportation policy development. An aspect of these efforts includes participating in regional and national transportation organizations to ensure that rural western state needs are considered. This includes developing and submitting formal comments on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proposed rule for implementing the national surface transportation program.
- MDT's comments on FHWA rulemaking, and comments MDT participated in developing are now available. Read more...
Policy, Program and Performance Bureau Chief
Surface Transportation Program Secondary
The Surface Transportation Program Secondary (STPS) is a sub-allocated portion of the larger Surface Transportation Program. State law (Senate Bill 333) passed during the 56th legislative session modified the method of sub-allocating secondary road system funds. Rather than allocating funds to the counties, as was done under the old system, funds are now allocated to the state's five financial districts based on formula. Law and formula are as follows: Each fiscal year the department shall apportion at least 65% of the federal-aid highway funds allocated for the secondary highway system among the districts for capital construction needs. The department must use the remainder of the funds for secondary highway system pavement preservation. Each district receives a proportion that is computed on the following basis:
- 30% in the ratio of land area in each district to the total land area in the state;
- 35% in the ratio of the rural population in each district to the total rural population in the state;
- 30% in the ratio of the rural road mileage in each district to the total rural road mileage in the state;
- 5% in the ratio of the rural bridge square footage in each district to the total rural bridge square footage in the state.
Funds in this program may be used to improve any road designated by the Montana Transportation Commission as part of the Secondary System. Eligible improvements include rehabilitation and reconstruction of the roadway to a paved or gravel surface. Other improvements include railroad-crossing surfaces and epoxy striping. Each year, the Transportation Commission allocates funds to the Secondary Highway System out of the federal-aid funds available in the STP category of funds. The federal share of this program is 86.58% with the state contributing 13.42% matching funds. The funds are primarily used to preserve, restore, or reconstruct roads and bridges.
Secondary Roads Engineer
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a requirement under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21) of 1998. The STIP shows funding obligation over a three-year period. This program identifies highway, rail, aeronautic, and transit improvements to preserve, renovate, and enhance Montana's transportation system within all jurisdictions receiving funding through the federal transportation programs. The projects and dates in the STIP are official MDT objectives; however, execution of this program is contingent on a number of factors, including federal and state funding availability, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocations, environmental review, surveying, and design. Complications with one or more of these factors may cause a given project to be rescheduled.
Incorporated by reference into the STIP are the Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) from the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula metropolitan areas. A TIP contains information about current and future transportation improvement projects and are developed by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) in cooperation with area transit providers and state and local governments as part of a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive transportation planning process. In the event of emergencies affecting on-system, state owned roads and bridges, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides relief through the Emergency Relief (ER) Program. The ER program provides for highway facilities repair and restoration to pre-disaster conditions. Any funds received for ER do not reduce Montana's normal apportionment or obligation authority.
Congestion Management System
Congestion Management System (CoMS) is a database that measures the current and future "operational health" on rural portions of the highway systems for which MDT is responsible. This management system is capable of measuring existing as well as future conditions on a number of different levels. It is a key component of MDT's statewide Performance Monitoring Program (P3) and is also used at the project level to assist with scoping and other project development activities.
Project History File
Project History File (PHF) is a database of mostly federal-aid projects that MDT has let to contract. Data is available back to 1980. The most common use of the PHF is for researching information regarding a project or projects during certain time periods in the past. The database includes 27 data items including the project name, highway system, date let to contract, project cost, type of work, etc. The database is queriable and can be used to extract very specific customized data sets.
Performance Programming Process
The Performance Programming Process, known as P3, ensures the best system wide investment decisions are made given:
- Overall direction of MDT's customers,
- Available resources, and
- System performance
P3 is defined as a method to develop an optimal investment plan and measure progress in moving toward strategic transportation system goals. Projects, which are programmed for construction in the Interstate, National Highway and Primary Programs, must address both a specific transportation need and contribute to overall transportation system performance goals.
Emergency Relief Program
In the event of emergencies affecting on-system, state owned roads and bridges, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides relief through the Emergency Relief (ER) Program. The ER program provides for highway facilities repair and restoration to pre-disaster conditions. Any funds received for ER do not reduce Montana's normal apportionment or obligation authority. ER dollars cannot be expended for items considered to be "heavy maintenance" or work that is frequently performed by the state and county maintenance crews repairing damage normally expected from seasonal and occasional unusual natural conditions.
Eligibility and Planning Considerations: Federal, State and County personnel are dispatched to the disaster area and are responsible for addressing all elements of repair as deemed necessary by the review team and approved by the FHWA.
Eligible items include:
- Engineering and Right-of-Way
- Traffic Damage
- Raising Grades
- Traffic Control Devices
- Landscaping, Roadside Appearance
- Basin Flooding
- Work on Active Construction
- Timber and Debris Removal
- Project Features Resulting from NEPA
For a formal declaration that a disaster has occurred, the combined cost to restore all damaged areas must exceed $700,000. This must also be accompanied by a declaration from the Governor.