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Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill 2 into law in 2014, which directs the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to develop and use a prioritization process to select transportation projects to be funded.
The legislation is intended to improve the transparency and accountability of project selection, as well as provide improved stability in the Six-Year Improvement Program. The legislation can be reviewed here.
The process will score projects based on an objective and fair analysis applied statewide. This process will help the CTB select projects that provide the maximum benefits for tax dollars spent.
Prioritization requires the CTB to develop and implement a prioritization process for projects funded in the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) that is objective and quantifiable. While the Code of Virginia does not require the CTB to allocate funds to the highest-scoring project(s), this process will increase transparency and accountability in the selection of projects for funding in the SYIP.
More information can be found at the website listed at //smartscale.org/resources/default.asp
Projects may be submitted by regional entities including Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Planning District Commissions (PDCs), along with counties and cities, and towns that maintain their own infrastructure and qualify to receive payments pursuant to §33.2-319. Transit agencies that receive state operating assistance from the Mass Transit Trust Fund, as established in § 58.1-638(A)(4)(b)(2) of the Code of Virginia are also eligible to submit projects.
The responsibility for transportation in those towns that do not receive maintenance payments is with the County. Counties are encouraged to coordinate with towns and prioritize candidate projects for submission similar to the Secondary Six-Year Plan process.
Counties, cities, and towns that maintain their own infrastructure are eligible to submit applications regardless of the roadway system. Maintenance of the specific roadway system is not a requirement of eligibility.
An eligible entity can submit an application as long as a portion of the project is located within the boundary of their jurisdictional authority. If a locality submitted project crosses into another jurisdiction, then a resolution of support from the affected jurisdiction(s) must be included in supporting documentation. If an MPO/PDC submitted project crosses into another region, then a resolution of support from the affected regional organization(s) must be included in supporting documentation.
No. All applications for projects to be considered for funding through the Smart Scale process should be submitted during the application period, which will be open from March 2nd to August 3rd.
UDAs are areas where jurisdictions intend to concentrate future population growth. The VTrans Needs Assessment will include any locally designated growth areas that have a comprehensive plan reference to the UDA section as being qualified for Smart Scale screening, even if they are not named as UDAs. Designated growth areas with the proper code reference submitted after Oct. 1, 2015, will still be included in the VTrans Multimodal Needs Assessment (VMTP) in an ongoing fashion. The SMART SCALE application has been modified to allow applicants to reference UDAs that are under development that are anticipated to be adopted by the August 3rd submission deadline.
Project readiness requirements are outlined in the Technical Guide Section 2.2
Projects submitted as candidates for Smart Scale funding will be held to a basic standard of development to assure that they can be evaluated reliably. VDOT and DRPT intend to provide support to project applicants prior to application to help project applicants understand and meet expectations. Project applicants are encouraged to initiate coordination with VDOT and DRPT staff prior to and during the application period to ensure that candidate projects are adequately developed.
Key components in the project scope/description will include the project limits, physical and operational characteristics, and physical and/or operational footprint.
Certain projects that are based on conceptual planning-level recommendations and have not been formally scoped or defined, may require additional planning/pre-scoping level work before their benefits can be adequately assessed according to the Smart Scale factors and measures. For more information on the pre-application or early application, please see Section 2 of the Smart Scale Technical Guide.
Applicants are encouraged to focus on quality rather than quantity when identifying candidate projects for Smart Scale evaluation.
An applicant may only identify State of Good Repair, Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside, Highway Safety Improvement Program and Revenue Sharing funds as committed funds if the funding has already been approved by the Board. Applicants must have an approved or pending application for other sources of committed funds, such as local/regional or other federal funds, at the time of the SMART SCALE application submission.
Committed funds are funds committed to cover the difference in total project cost and SMART SCALE request so that the project is fully funded through construction. Applicants are encouraged to identify other sources of funding (local, regional, proffers, other state/federal funds) to reduce the amount of SMART SCALE funding requested. However, since committed funds are used to leverage and reduce the SMART SCALE requested amount that is used in the calculation of the SMART SCALE score, applicants must submit a letter of commitment that they are responsible for such committed funds even if the original source of the funds is no longer available.
Additionally, if projects that are fully funded in a capital improvement program, a metropolitan planning organization’s transportation improvement program or committed by a developer through local zoning approval process will be excluded from consideration in evaluating and rating for SMART SCALE. However, the Board recognizes that there are unique circumstances for large projects that require flexibility. Accordingly, a fully funded project may be considered under SMART SCALE if the total project cost is reasonably expected to exceed $1 billion and will start procurement prior to the award of the next round of SMART SCALE, but was ineligible for the most recent previous round of SMART SCALE due to project readiness.
Yes, however if an applicant leverages the same local funding on multiple applications (SMART SCALE, Revenue Sharing, TAP, etc.) and more than one project is selected for funding, then the applicant is responsible for covering the difference. As an example, if jurisdiction were to leverage $1,000,000 each on two seperate SMART SCALE applications and both were selected, then applicant would be responsible for providing $2,000,000 in local funds. A letter of commitment to fund the leveraged amount is required for each project.
A project that is fully committed by a proffer is not eligible. For example, if developer were committed to constructing a rail station or to construct a roadway, than those improvements are not eligible for SMART SCALE. If, however, the proffer were only for a component or phase of a larger project, then the proffer could be included in the application as other committed funding. For example, if developer were committed through proffer to donate right-of-way for rail station or road improvement the other needed components or phases (PE, CN) would be eligible. If the applicant desires to submit a project with proffered conditions and seeks to obtain SMART SCALE funding for, or in lieu of the proffer, the proffer must have been legally rescinded or terminated before the applicant may submit an application for the project.
Paragraph B of HB2 requires “a statewide prioritization process for the use of funds allocated to pursuant to §33.2-214.1 or apportioned pursuant to 23 USC 104.” Federal funds apportioned to DRPT by FTA for transit are generally applied to operation and maintenance of transit services and facilities and are not referenced in this portion of the code.
How to Apply
Projects may be submitted by regional entities including Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Planning District Commissions (PDCs), along with public transit agencies; counties; and cities and towns that maintain their own infrastructure. See table below.
The online application can be accessed at https://smartportal.virginiahb2.org/#/
An application worksheet is available on the Smart Scale website, which can be used to prepare the data and other information prior to completing the online application. Information included on the application worksheet can be cut and pasted into the online application. Please see the website above to download this worksheet. A help guide has been prepared to assist in using the application worksheet. Click here for the help guide.
Localities with a population below 200,000, and MPOs/PDCs/Transit agencies that serve a below 500,000, may submit a maximum of four applications.
Localities with a population at or above 200,000, and MPOs/PDCs/Transit agencies that serve a population at or above 500,000, may submit a maximum of ten applications.
Maximum Number of Pre-Applications
Less than 200K
Less than 500K
Greater than 200K
Greater than 500K
The source of population data for localities, MPOs and PDCs is the last preceding United States census (2010). Application limits for transit agencies were determined based on service area population in the 2010 National Transit Database (NTD). If service area population was not available in NTD, Census 2010 population was used to determine population in jurisdictions served by transit agency.
The listing of eligible entities, population data and tier/maximum number of applications is located on line at: //smartscale.org/documents/2018documents/smart_scale_application_limits_revised_02-21-18.xlsx.
No. MPO population (within the approved MPO study area boundary) is subtracted from the PDC population to avoid double counting population.
No. Public transit agencies are considered separate entities and do not count toward local maximum.
No. Application caps apply individually to each entity eligible to submit for SMART SCALE. As a reminder there are limitations on who can submit based on the different VTrans needs categories and eligibility to the High Priority and District Grant Programs.
Yes, but PDCs and MPOs are only eligible to submit projects on the Corridors of Statewide Significance or Regional Networks, and are only eligible for funding through the High Priority Program. Alternatively, per CTB policy, a Board member may allow one additional application from one county within their district if (i) the project is located within a town that is ineligible to submit projects and (ii) the county in which the town is located submitted the maximum number of applications allowed. Only one such additional application is allowed per district.
Starting in Round 3 a pre-application has been incorporated into the SMART Portal. This pre-application allows applicants to fill out basic information about there projects an provides option to request pre-screening. Pre-screening provides early feedback on 3 critical screening items 1) Does project meet a VTrans need adopted by the CTB, 2) Is the project eligible for SMART SCALE, and 3) Does the project meet the CTB’s readiness policy. The pre-application significantly extends the application intake period. Applicants begin filling out pre-applications starting March 2nd and must submitted pre-application by April 1st. After April 1st, no new application can be created - only modifications and refinements to submitted pre-applications. The pre-application coordination form and associated help document used in previous rounds are still available to assist in working with VDOT and DRPT to develop projects for submission. Early coordination between project applicants and VDOT and DRPT staff is strongly encouraged, as it provides an opportunity to compile and develop necessary data ahead of the screening and application process. Figure 2.1 in the Smart Scale Technical Guide highlights the critical questions project applicants should contemplate and work with VDOT and DRPT on prior to the call for Smart Scale project submissions on August 3rd.
VDOT has established local points of contact to coordinate with applicants throughout the process up until the August 8th application deadline. For more information on the pre-application or early application, see Section 2 of the Smart Scale Policy Guide.
An application worksheet is available on the Smart Scale website, which can be used to prepare the data and other information prior to completing the online application. Click here to view the application worksheet.
Yes, the final and pre-applications submitted for evaluation and consideration for funding are subject to the an application limit. See below for application limits.
To submit the application, you need to prepare resources and project information ahead of time. For helpful guidance please reference section 2.4 of the SMART SCALE Technical Guide. A significant amount of data and information needed to calculate benefits will be provided by DRPT and VDOT. For a list of these resources and materials, see Table 2.3 of the Smart Scale Technical Guide and for more information on SMART SCALE measure data responsibilities. A pre-application coordination form and associated help document have been created to assist you in working with VDOT and DRPT to develop projects for submission. In addition a pre-application was incorporated into the SMART Portal starting in Round 3 to facilitate coordination and collaboration.
Ultimately, the project applicant is required to submit the final application prior to the August 3rd deadline. Others in the applicant’s organization may be designated as editors in the online application portal in order to aid in completing the application information. A key guiding theme in developing the application is that it should not require applicants to invest significant time and resources for submission of project information, or require the use of consultants to develop an eligible application.
VDOT and DRPT staff are available to provide support and tools for applicants in compiling data and information needed for application. For more information on who can submit an application, please see Table 2.2 of the Smart Scale Policy Guide.
Accurate cost estimates are critical because cost impacts the project score and cost-estimate increases could force the project to be rescored in subsequent Smart Scale cycles.
VDOT and DRPT will assist applicants with the development of cost estimates. Prior to submitting project applications, applicants should work in conjunction with VDOT and DRPT staff to develop reliable cost estimates as part of the application process.
For projects in which the applicant requests VDOT administer the project, VDOT will be responsible for providing the applicant with a cost estimate for each project application. If the applicant has provided an estimate, VDOT will be required to validate the estimate for use on each project application.
For projects in which the applicant requests to locally administer the project (and for all DRPT oversight projects), the applicant may provide a cost estimate for each project application, however VDOT and/or DRPT staff must validate the estimate for use on each project application.
If there is disagreement concerning the estimate that cannot be resolved between the applicant and the VDOT/DRPT local contact, the applicant may request resolution from the VDOT district engineer/administrator or the DRPT director.
For more information on project cost estimating, see Section 4.4 of the Smart Scale Technical Guide.
For the online application, visit https://smartportal.virginiahb2.org/#/ and complete the steps as indicated in the application wizard. Text and data may be transferred from the completed application worksheet document.
For highway, transit, and rail projects, localities should work initially with the VDOT resident administrator/resident engineer, and regional entities (MPOs/PDCs) should work with the planning and investment manager/district planning manager to address questions and compile information. Depending on the project, district resources will be made available to assist with refining project scopes, schedules and estimates. These resources may include the district project development engineer (PE manager), district bridge engineer, district construction engineer, regional ROW manager, district traffic engineer/Operations, and district planning manager. A list of VDOT and DRPT contacts is shown in Table C-1 and C-2 below and is also available through the on-line application.
For highway projects applicants should work with the applicable VDOT project manager in each district, listed on the SMART SCALE Website https://smartportal.virginiahb2.org/#/about/smart-scale
Once a pre-application is submitted it cannot be un-submitted to make edits. Once a pre-application is submitted all revisions from that point forward are made to the full application. Full applications that have been submitted can be un-submitted to make edits and resubmitted up to the application submission deadline of August 3rd.
Resolutions of support from the governing body of the submitting applicant are due by the August 3rd application submission deadline.
Resolutions of support required, per Table 2.2 of the SMART SCALE Technical Guide, from MPOs or PDCs for application submitted by a locality (city, county, town) or public transit agency are due by September 1st. Prior to August 3rd the resolution may be uploaded as part of the supporting documents. After August 3rd the resolution may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project scoring and selection under Smart Scale will take place as part of the SYIP development process in even-numbered fiscal years. Applicants will have the opportunity to resubmit projects not selected for funding for future consideration. If a project selected for funding has a significant change in scope or cost, it may need to be rescored and funds may be reprogrammed. See section 5.2 of the SMART SCALE Technical Guide for information related changes to scope/schedule/cost and re-scoring.
Submitted applications may be edited up until the application deadline. No changes to submitted applications may be submitted after the application deadline passes.
In general, once a project has been screened, scored, and selected for funding by the CTB, it will remain in the SYIP as a funding priority. Certain circumstances may warrant a re-evaluation of the project score and funding decision as described in Section 5.2 of the Smart Scale Technical Guide.
All submitted applications must include a resolution of support from the submitting entities governing body. Locality submitted applications (City, County, Town) required a resolution of support from the city/county/town council or board. Applications submitted by regional organizations must have resolution of support from the applicable governing board or committee. Applications submitted by transit agencies must include resolution from the oversight or transit board. The deadline to submit required regional resolutions is September 1st.
Governing body resolutions of support (from the submitting organization) are due by the August 3rd submission deadlines, however: due to confusion regarding the policy changes for Round 4 decision has been made to offer flexibility until September 1st. The deadline to submit required regional resolutions (MPO/PDC) is September 1st.
Applicants have until 5 p.m. on August 3rd to make final selections on projects to submit. Applicants are encouraged to submit as soon as possible and are discouraged from waiting until the final day as they may encounter issues with the application after clicking the “Review Submission Readiness” button that will need to be addressed before the final application can be submitted.
There are several recommendations to further clarify project readiness. These requirements have been proposed as a result of lessons learned from projects selected for funding in previous rounds, where it is apparent that the projects were not yet ready to advance. The project readiness requirements are design to reduce risks, should the project be funded, related to major scope changes and NEPA. These readiness requirements help ensure that more complex projects have benefited from a more thorough planning and alternatives review process. Without planning and alternative testing such projects may be at risk for advancing in the project development process. In such cases funding that was allocated to the project could have been utilized on another project in the same cohort. Additionally, one of the goals of the SMART SCALE process is to not only select the best projects for funding, but also to identify the best candidate projects for submission. Applicants are encouraged to conduct the appropriate level of planning and prioritizing of the needs within their jurisdictions.
Yes, the IJR and signal warrant analysis formalizes the policy that was in place for Round 2.
Proposed new traffic signals must meet VDOT spacing standards and require an approved traffic signal justification report to justify their use as the appropriate traffic control method at the proposed location and the applicant must provide evidence that innovative intersection improvements have been considered and evaluated. This requirements applies to both VDOT and non-VDOT maintained facilities. Applicants concerned about resources needed to conduct a signal warrant analysis or Interchange Justification report should contact VDOT District Planner to coordinate technical assistance.
An Interchange Justification Report (IJR) is only required for new access points on limited access facilities. The IJR must identify a preferred alternative that is supported by VDOT’s Location and Design Division and, in instances of interstate facilities, the responsible FHWA area engineer. Modifications to existing access points do not require a formal IJR or Interchange Modification Report (IMR) – a planning or traffic and safety study is sufficient. For all interchange projects, new or modifications to existing, VDOT needs to understand the specific interchange configuration or modifications proposed for funding in order to calculate the benefits.
Yes. The proposed planning requirements for new roadways and major widenings are new for Round 3. An applicant that proposes a major widening (two or more through lanes) of an existing roadway must demonstrate that alternatives to optimize the existing capacity have been evaluated as part of the planning process, and that the alternatives analysis results were used in making the decision on the preferred alternative. The intention of this proposed requirement is not to force applicants to spend extensive time and resources conducting detailed studies. Instead it is meant to require applicants to show that they have considered options to maximize the performance and operation of existing capacity.
An example might be a two-lane roadway with 5,000-6,000 vehicles a day. The roadway has seen some growth over the years, but is not considered high growth – and the forecasted AADT is still within the capacity of a two-lane facility. However, through vehicle are being blocked by turning vehicles, and there are no existing turn lanes. In this case, VDOT would want to know that the provision of turn lanes had been evaluated, and deemed inadequate, before considering the construction of an additional through lane in each direction.
No, VDOT and DRPT cannot evaluate multiple alternatives to determine the project benefits. The preferred alternative must be identified in the application. If more than one alternative is listed, then the State will request the applicant to modify the application to identify the preferred alternative. If applicant is unable to identify preferred alternative, then the State will deem the project not ready, and will screen the project out from consideration.
Some project readiness documents may not be valid for six years after funding becomes available.
VDOT and DRPT understands the concerns of certain required documents for project readiness and agree that there is some risk in having certain information in advance; however, we do not want to select a project for funding to then find out it cannot advance for a variety of reasons.
Applicants must demonstrate that a project has the support of key stakeholders and that the public has been afforded the opportunity to provide comments and input at the time of application submittal to SMART SCALE. A resolution of support from the relevant governing body or policy board is required at the time of application. This policy ensures the public was afforded the opportunity to provide input. The resolution of support must be uploaded in the SMART Portal as part of the project documentation.
Projects are not required to be in the long range plans prior to application submission; however, federally eligible, projects must meet the relevant federal requirements for inclusion into the Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) in order to make use of funding received through SMART SCALE. MPOs need to understand potential impacts to the long range plans before projects are selected for funding. Localities and MPOs are encouraged to follow the planning and prioritization processes currently in use by the MPO. A project submitted by a locality within an MPO boundary must provide a resolution of support from the governing MPO Policy Board if the project is not consistent with or referenced in the adopted MPO Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP).
For the purposes of this policy contiguous means adjacent or together in a sequence. Transit stops or stations along a transit route or intersections or spot improvements along a corridor meet the definition of contiguous for the purposes of the project eligibility policy.
Project Scoring And Prioritization Process
Following the close of the application period, OIPI, VDOT and DRPT staff will conduct an application validation review and begin screening and scoring candidate projects. In January, a list of all submitted projects and their scores will be submitted to the CTB and posted on-line. The CTB will use this information to inform their funding decisions to support development of the draft SYIP in April.
As discussed in Section 4.2 of the Technical Guide, QA/QC review will be conducted by an internal technical group as well as by an external policy group. Once the technical evaluation team finalizes the measures scoring of all submitted projects, the results will be reviewed by a policy review group consisting of stakeholder representatives such as VACO, VTA and VML staff. Final scores are presented to the CTB in January and made public at the same time.
The of the Technical Guide states: Note that if an applicant submits more than one project for consideration, as part of the application process, each applicant will be asked to rank their submitted projects in order of priority. VDOT/DRPT will evaluate projects in order of priority. Once a project is scored, the ranking of projects will only be based on the scores, not on the jurisdictional priorities.
Project scoring and selection under SMART SCALE will take place as part of the SYIP development process in even-numbered fiscal years. Project applicants will have the opportunity to resubmit projects not selected for funding for future consideration. If a project selected for funding has a significant change in scope or cost, it may need to be rescored and funds may be reprogrammed. Click here to view the SMART SCALE Re-evaluation Guide.
Both the benefit relative to the SMART SCALE cost and the benefit relative to the total cost will be provided to the CTB. However, the scores used to rank projects are based on the SMART SCALE cost. Leveraging non-SMART SCALE funds lowers the SMART SCALE request and will result in a higher score. Project scores, as well as additional information related to the project, such as the items noted above, will be presented to the CTB to aid in project funding decisions.
Submitted applications may be edited up until the application deadline. No changes to submitted applications may be submitted after the application deadline passes.
In general, once a project has been screened, scored, and selected for funding by the CTB, it will remain in the SYIP as a funding priority. Certain circumstances may warrant a re-evaluation of the project score and funding decision as described in Section 5.2 of the SMART SCALE Technical Guide.
No, the CTB may choose to fund projects that do not align with Smart Scale priorities. However, they must justify their decision to do so.
Each county must set its priorities within its boundaries. Local governments may then submit a joint application for projects that cross the boundary of a single local government.
Each jurisdiction must set its priorities within its boundaries. Local governments may have an application for projects that cross into another jurisdiction(s) boundary, however; the submitting jurisdiction must get a resolution of support for each affected jurisdiction.
Traffic volumes will be analyzed for existing conditions. For Round 4 this is defined as the year 2019. This is a change to the person throughput and person hours of delay measures used in the first two rounds of SMART SCALE funding, which were based on future traffic conditions (2025).
To find the change in corridor total (multimodal) person throughput attributed to the project, SMART SCALE will look at the following data sources:
Park and Ride: For park and ride projects, identify the location of the project using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap tool to query the population within 3 miles of the proposed park and ride improvement. The OnTheMap tool provides data that can be used to determine the average commuting distance and direction for this population.
Transit: For transit projects, Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and/or applicant will provide estimated daily ridership and hourly ridership (new riders) for the proposed service(s).
For transit, TDM, bicycle and pedestrian projects, SMART SCALE will estimate total person throughput for new users in the peak period. The person throughput reduction for new users is associated with any throughput savings associated with a shift from auto to the other mode.
Person throughput miles is similar to person miles travelled. One important distinction is that the throughput measure calculates the person throughput above and beyond the facilities capacity that the proposed improvement will facilitate. So if a corridor is below capacity, it will not show an increase in throughput by adding additional capacity. To avoid confusion with the standard definition of person miles of travel we decided to use the terminology person throughput miles.
How will removing the 45 and 60-minute cap affect scores across modes, including transit and bicycle/pedestrian projects?
At the October 2017 CTB meeting the Board decided to retain the 45 and 60-minute caps for the calculation of accessibility.
What is the definition of “primary access to a site”?
To qualify as primary access to site the proposed site or parcel needs to have direct access to the proposed transportation improvement OR be directly adjacent to the proposed transportation improvement. The proposed site is not required to have a planned entrance to the proposed transportation improvement.
Is there a limit on the total amount of square footage of development that can be applied to measure ED.1?
Yes, the total amount building square footage (all sites) that can be considered for the purpose of scaling the ED.1 measure is capped at 10 million square feet. An applicant may submit additional sites (building square footage) above this cap; however, additional documentation will be required.
What is the difference between a “detailed site plan” and a “conceptual site plan”?
A detailed site plan has construction documents, engineering/architectural drawings and specifications that include construction requirements for a project. These plans are detailed enough for construction and include details regarding building pad locations, grading, drainage, utilities, parking and entrances.
A conceptual site plan is a conceptual sketch, as part of a rezoning application that must include the following detail:
1. The location, area and density or floor area ratio (FAR) of each type of proposed land use within the development.
2. A delineation of developable land to exclude wetlands and terrain that will not be developed.
3. The location of any proposed roadway facility on site within the development's boundaries and the connectivity of the network addition as proposed.
4. The location of stub outs on adjoining property and the existing land use of such adjacent property, if applicable, and the location of any proposed stub outs within the network addition, if applicable.
Why are ZIP codes being used as the geography for economically distressed areas?
VDOT/DRPT researched multiple sources of information to determine the appropriate data set for economic indicators. Most datasets report at the jurisdiction level of counties and cities. Jurisdiction-level stress indicators can mask economically distressed areas within a particular jurisdiction. The data set provided through the Economic Innovation Group Distressed Communities Index (https://eig.org/dci) provides data at a more granular level tied to zip codes. Evaluation of economic distress at the zip code level was deemed more reliable than at the jurisdiction level.
Instead of a 3 mile buffer distance, could the buffer be scaled to project size and impact?
The buffer distance, which is measured by travel distance on the transportation network, has been adjusted by project type:
Tier 1 Project Type (0.5 mile buffer): Turn Lane, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Bike Lane or Path, Sidewalk, Bus Stop, Park & Ride Lot
Tier 2 Project Type (1 mile buffer): Access Management, Signal optimization, Increase Bus service, Improvement to Rail Transit Station
Tier 3 Project Type (3 mile buffer): New through lane, new/improved interchange, new bridge, new Rail Transit Station, additional Rail Track
The SMART Portal has been modified with a Routing tool that helps to calculate the travel distance from the site to the transportation improvement. The applicant has the option to input a User Entered Distance. This is helpful for projects on new location that may shorten the distance from the project to the development site.
Why did this measure shift from evaluating the project’s support of “new and existing economic development” to “future economic development”? How will redevelopment projects be considered?
Existing economic development was not eligible for inclusion in the calculation of this measure and no changes to that effect are under consideration. Pending and future development has always been the focus of this measure. The proposed changes are meant to better assess the readiness of proposed development. For a zoned property to be eligible it would need to be adjacent to the proposed improvement. At the site plan level, the proposed changes better distinguish between conceptual and detailed site plans. The allowable buffers around the project have also been reduced.
A redevelopment proposal of an existing property is eligible – an applicant would need to upload supporting documentation for the site to receive credit. If a locality is planning for redevelopment of an area with vacant structures, then conceptual redevelopment plans can be uploaded. If a private developer has submitted conceptual or detailed site plans for a redevelopment project then those can be uploaded as part of the site documentation.
What is the definition of “mixed use”?
To qualify as mixed use a site or parcel must be designated in the locality’s current or future zoning map as mixed-use zoning or be located within a designated mixed-use zoning district, which allows for a range of land uses (residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and/or industrial) in a single development project.
Why is there a cap on the number of occurrences for each destination type, and how were points assigned for each destination type?
The non-work accessibility methodology was developed by analyzing existing levels of accessibility throughout the Commonwealth. The destination "caps" are based on the largest number observed anywhere in Virginia (actually the 99th percentile). In other words, nowhere in Virginia scores all 100 points. Points are awarded equally to each destination class (Education, Grocery, etc.) and divided among the total number of destinations (the "cap" or "target") in that class.
Why was the land use measure changed?
As part of research into development of the Accessibility score, the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment consultant team also looked at access to non-work destinations, such as stores, schools and parks, which account for the majority of travel on the system. The team found that non-work access scores were quite meaningful – higher scores, for example, indicated higher quality of life, lower motor vehicle demand and greater non-auto travel. These scores, based on empirical land use and transportation network data, can be readily calculated with the tool developed for measuring accessibility to jobs. In contrast, the original measure was more qualitative and speculative, e.g. points could be earned if a locality simply indicated mixed land uses could be one day approved in the project area.
SMART SCALE Programming And Project Funding
For projects selected to be funded through this process, funds will be programmed to projects based on their phase estimates and schedules, as well as the availability of program funds in each fiscal year. In general, preliminary engineering must be fully funded by the start of the right of way phase; the right of way phase must be fully funded by the start of the construction phase; and the construction phase must be fully funded within 12 months of completion. Funds are programmed according to how they will be obligated and expended.
It is important to note that due to project costs, schedules and the availability of eligible fund types, lower scoring projects may receive full funding prior to higher scoring projects. Funds are programmed based on when projects need the funds to support anticipated cash flow needs for project development. VDOT optimizes when and how funds are programmed to maximize the number of projects that can be funded concurrently.
Surplus funds will be reprogrammed to address needs on underway SMART SCALE projects, re-allocated as part of the next SMART SCALE cycle or used to address revenue reductions. Fund transfers required to facilitate project development on ongoing projects are provided to the CTB for approval as necessary.
Reductions in funding available through SMART SCALE due to reduced revenue estimates will be addressed as part of the annual SYIP update. Every effort will be made to stretch funding on selected projects to keep projects on schedule.
If a project is identified to receive non-exempt funding through the SMART SCALE scoring process, but is not scheduled to start until future years, can a locality or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) choose to accelerate project development by allocating other funding sources (e.g., local or regional funds) to the project earlier?
Yes. A locality or MPO may advance other committed funds on a project selected for funding through SMART SCALE. The other committed funds must be identified in the application.
Refer to the SMART SCALE Project Change Guide. A project that has been selected for funding must be re-scored and the funding decision reevaluated if there are significant changes to either the scope or cost of the project, such that the anticipated benefits relative to funding requested would have substantially changed.
In general, a change in scope significant enough to impact anticipated benefits associated with the project or to require the location decision, environmental review process (NEPA), or public hearing to be revisited would need to be re-evaluated.
If an estimate increases prior to project advertisement or contract award that exceeds the following thresholds, and the applicant is not covering the increased cost with other funds, Board action is required to approve the budget increase:
i. Total Cost Estimate < $5 million: 20% increase in funding requested
ii. Total Cost Estimate $5 million to $10 million: $1 million or greater increase in funding requested
iii. Total Cost Estimate > $10 million: 10% increase in funding requested; $5 million maximum increase in funding requested.
If the project scope is reduced or modified such that the revised score is less than the lowest ranked funded project in the district for that cohort of projects, Board action is required to approve the change in scope.
If the project scope is increased then the applicant is responsible for the additional cost attributable to the increase in scope regardless of budget impact. The scope of a project may not be substantially modified in such a manner that the proposed improvements do not accomplish the same benefits as the original scope.
CTB action may be required to confirm the board’s commitment to funding of the project based on the new score and/or scope.
In general, if a budget increase is identified during project development, Project Managers must review the project scope to identify opportunities to remain within the original budget while maintaining substantially the same project benefits. If the project scope cannot be modified and maintain substantially the same benefits, the project contingency budget will be used to address any budget shortfall at award prior to seeking additional SMART SCALE funding.
Cost increases due to additional scope are the responsibility of the applicant.
SMART SCALE budget increases will be addressed at project award after reducing project contingencies. Budget increases below the thresholds identified in the SMART SCALE Policy will be addressed according to regular business rules in accordance with the CTB policy for fund transfers. For SMART SCALE budget increases above the allowable thresholds, CTB action is required as described in the SMART SCALE Project Change Guide.
Addressing cost increases with District Grant Program (DGP) funds or High Priority Project (HPP) funds is based on funding availability. SMART SCALE budget increases on DGP projects will be funded with DGP funds. SMART SCALE budget increases on HPP projects will be funded with HPP funds.
If a project that is selected for funding through this process has a surplus of funds during project development or at the completion of the project, what happens to those funds? Are they available for use on other projects that have been scored and selected for partial funding in the same district or geographic region?
Surplus funds made available through the Construction District Grant Program and High Priority Projects Program will remain within these respective programs. Surplus funds will be reprogrammed to address needs on underway SMART SCALE projects, re-allocated as part of the next SMART SCALE cycle, or used to address revenue reductions. Allocation adjustments will be made at project award, as necessary, and as part of the annual SYIP update.
FAQ last updated 03/19/2020