The Lake Norman Rural Planning Organization approved a resolution endorsing the 2004-2010 transportation improvement program, which is the long range plan for Lincoln County, the northwest portion of Gaston County and the south portion of Iredell County.
These areas were designated as part of the Metrolina Region non-attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency 8-hour Ozone Standard on June 15, 2004.
Non-attainment areas are defined as geographic areas that have not consistently met the clean air levels set by the EPA in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The RPO also made the following changes to their ranking system at last Tuesdayâ€™s meeting. In 2003, the Lake Norman RPO used the project ranking system by prioritizing significant projects and submitting it to the DOT. This year the following changes were approved:
Â· Projects will be ranked and selected by regionally significant projects. Submitted local lists will be used to identify regional projects. However, it now not necessary for local governments to continue to show regional projects as their top priorities
Â· The RPO will endorse recommendations for local projects in the $6 to $8 million range
Â· In the ranking system the regional impact will be used to replace the mobility as a criterion. This will help focus improvements in the interstate and intrastate systems, regional highway corridors and fixed guideway transit corridors. The regional impact has been tested in a project ranking for air quality conformity
The ranking criteria includes reducing congestion, improving safety, cost benefits and improving multi-modal choices for transportation.
The RPO also discussed the priorities of projects for 2007 through 2013 which have been tabled until August.
The issue of the proposed Wal-Mart, which will be located near N.C. 16 and N.C. 73, was mentioned by Tom Anderson who is on the transportation advisory committee.
â€œThe traffic averages 18,000 cars a day and there will be an increase if Wal-Mart comes,â€ Anderson said.
The RPO also adopted:
Â· The 2005-06 planning work program and five-year planning calendar, which is the instrument by which the RPO describes to N.C. DOT how it will carry out the rural transportation planning process
Â· Priorities for the comprehensive transportation plans were also approved. First priority will be given to Shelby, followed by Kings Mountain, Boiling Springs, Statesville and Lincolnton.
by Amy Wadsworth