Montana Department of Transportation

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Research Toolkit

Montana Transportation and Land Use

resource and funding

Resource and Funding Coordination

visioning and Scenario Planning

What is resource and funding coordination?

This tool refers to coordination for the purposes of sharing technical and/or financial resources among agencies and/or private partners. The intent is to streamline efforts, to conserve time and energy, and to leverage resources in ways that increase their collective value. Some successful coordination efforts revolve around a specific program or project. These efforts may be spelled out in a project scope or in the mission statement of a program.

Who can implement it?

Implementing agency/entity jurisdiction: federal, state, regional, local.
Implementing agency/entity discipline: transportation, land use, economic development, and others.

What are the keys to success and potential pitfalls?

Funding is a powerful tool for promoting participation. In some cases, MPOs have attempted to create training programs or other forums to promote the consideration of management and operations strategies. There are inevitably difficulties in getting some jurisdictions or stakeholder groups to the table, particularly when a forum or activity is not part of an established regional process

Where has this strategy been applied?

Examples in Montana

  • The Montana Association of Counties (MACO) is an organization formed to serve Montana's 56 counties. MACO's professional staff field questions from counties concerning planning, land use and other topics of interest to local governments. MACO members have also formed Land Use and Development and Transportation Committees to address issues of relevance to county governments.
  • The Montana League of Cities is an organization formed to assist Montana's cities and towns. A professional staff person provides information to municipal officials. The League sponsors an annual meeting during which training is provided.
  • The Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) has formed a Transportation Working Group to build relationships and foster communications with MDT regarding economic and community development and transportation-related issues, funding, and setting project priorities. To date, MEDA and MDT have met three times to discuss transportation and economic development issues.
  • The Montana Association of Planners (MAP) is an association of professional planners, planning consultants, planning board members, citizen planners, and other interested citizens. MAP provides an opportunity for the planning community in the state to share ideas and experiences and the group promotes planning as a positive and proactive way to address change in our communities. The association sponsors an annual conference and other learning opportunities.
  • The Montana Watershed Coordination Council (MWCC) serves as a statewide coordination network for Montana's natural resource agencies and private organizations and local watershed groups. MWCC members represent communities, watershed groups, state and Federal agencies, private organizations, and individuals. The MWCC includes several committees and work groups focused on topics like education and outreach, funding, water quality monitoring, groundwater, and recognition of outstanding work by watershed groups.
  • The Montana Tourism and Recreation Initiative (MTRI) combines time, funding and other resources from 17+ different organizations to plan and fund mutually beneficial coordinated government sector projects that serve the needs of residents and visitors.
    • The Montana Tourism Recreation Initiative (MTRI) was formed in December 2000 by the Montana governor's office. It represents a multiagency cooperative agreement bound by an MOU between 12 state and 6 Federal agencies. The means to achieving its mandate as stated in the MOU is "by sharing information and combining time, funding, and other resources, MTRI provides a vehicle for coordinated government sector projects." The MOU sets out a structure to guide the activities undertaken by the MTRI.
    • The Montana Department of Commerce's Travel Promotion Division administers the initiative. Management of project-specific tasks will be arranged through assistance agreements or, if need be, separate contracts when the transfer of funds, services, or property is involved between agencies. Participation is predominantly staff from state and Federal organizations. Local government and private- sector interests will be invited on a project-by-project basis or if an interest is expressed and a commitment demonstrated. The four areas of focus are: 1) resource protection and enhancement, 2) public information, 3) communications, and 4) planning.
    • The communications element is a commitment to interagency training and education programs associated with cultural and natural resources management, public relations, tourism promotion, and other topics, and is open to employees from each member agency. It states that MTRI will work on the development of an interagency network system to share reports, memos, data, and other information vital to the collaboration. In addition to the formal interaction, participating parties report that some of the best successes for tourism in transportation planning implementation have been the result of more frequent informal communications between agency staffs.
  • The The Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Action Coordinating Team (W2ASACT), comprised of a group of professionals from state, federal and non-profit organizations that finance, regulate or provide technical assistance for community water and wastewater systems, has been meeting for more than 25 years to address common issues and find ways to improve Montana's environmental infrastructure. The impetus behind the formation of the W2ASACT was the realization that while all of the represented programs have different missions and unique needs, there were many common processes and elements among the programs. These programs provide money (grants or loans), take applications from communities to fund their projects, and administer those monies once projects are funded. Over the years, W2ASACT efforts have resulted in several notable accomplishments:
    • Simplifying and streamlining actions, procedures, and forms associated with funding programs for water and wastewater infrastructure projects;
    • Developing a master project lists identifying almost every water and wastewater project that is or may be receiving funding assistance from the state or Federal government;
    • Providing technical assistance to communities through publications and by conducting seminars and workshops to explain the various financial programs, and organizational and technical planning needs for infrastructure projects by local governments;
    • Advocating for the development of new funding programs and funding for up-front studies and activities needed to advance infrastructure projects; and
    • Promoting capital improvements and improved financial planning to help communities recognize that planning for and funding repairs and replacements to infrastructure needs to be an ongoing process.
    The concept represented by W2ASACT was nationally recognized during 2000 with the receipt of a Department of Housing and Urban Development "Best Practice" Award. These awards recognize practices that enhance the quality of management and promote effectiveness and efficiency as models for other states.
  • Peoples Way project-reconstruction of US Highway 93 between Evaro and Polson-represents a successful highway reconstruction effort that relied on collaboration, blending new technology with traditional values, context-sensitive design, and trust among affected governments. MDT's project development process initially identified a four-lane solution for the highway to address the need for safety improvements, accommodate increased local growth, and recreational traffic through the region. For a variety of reasons, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe (CSKT) rejected the recommendation for a four-lane road from Evaro to Polson halting efforts to undertake needed road reconstruction. During the late 1990's, efforts to reconstruct the roadway were reenergized based on continuing safety concerns. The CSKT, FHWA, and MDT reached an agreement about implementing a process to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) about rebuilding US Highway 93 and allowing the MOA to serve as a collective vision for the roadway. A team of consulting engineers and landscape architects worked with all parties to develop a design that balances the needs for the safety of visitors and residents, preservation of landscape and culture, and protection of wildlife. When construction is completed, this section of US Highway 93 being among the most context-sensitive highways in the US
  • Missoula County Rural Initiatives is responsible for providing citizens with an avenue for the collection and distribution of data, legislation, regulations and policies relative to Missoula County. Rural Initiatives also advises the County Commission on issues of importance to rural residents in nine planning regions outside the Missoula urban area. It is charged with planning and implementing measures designed to protect the cultural, historic, economic, and natural resources of the County while providing for and directing growth outside the Missoula valley. The office provides technical support to the Missoula County Open Lands Citizens' Advisory Committee on open space bond funding and on efforts to preserve and protect farming, ranching, timber lands and economic diversity in rural portions of the County. Rural Initiatives also works closely with state, tribal and federal agencies to address rural issues ranging from road access to forest fires, wildlife and rural land development.

Examples outside of Montana

  • Riverside County, California is using shared GIS databases and overlapping committee participation to coordinate a county-wide transportation corridors plan, a habitat conservation plan, and a general plan update.
  • The Oregon Economic Revitalization Team (ERT) coordinates resources from ten state agencies toward activities that improve Oregon's readiness for economic development.
  • The Illinois Tomorrow corridor planning grant program promotes voluntary state/local partnerships and focuses on state programs that invest in existing communities for balanced growth. Illinois municipalities and counties can apply for funding for planning projects that evaluate and address interaction between land development and infrastructure decisions. The program encourages innovative, intergovernmental, public-private and non-traditional partnerships.
  • Florida's Economic Development Transportation Fund is designed to alleviate transportation problems that impact a specific company's location or expansion decision. The fund is administered through Enterprise Florida, Inc., a public/private partnership responsible for leading Florida's statewide economic development efforts. Awards are made to the local government on behalf of specific businesses for public transportation improvements. Local governments working with a specific company submit an application to Enterprise Florida. The application describes the transportation problem that needs to be addressed and certifies that it is a "substantial impediment" to the company's expansion or location plans. The award is made to the local government on behalf of a specific business for public transportation improvements. In Florida, Economic Development Transportation Fund, commonly referred to as the "Road Fund," is an incentive tool designed to alleviate transportation problems that adversely impact a specific company's location or expansion decision. These grants are limited to $3 million per project and are awarded to the local government for public transportation facility improvements.
  • The Alabama Industrial Access Road and Bridge Program is intended to provide adequate public access to new or expanding distribution, manufacturing and industrial firms. The industry must be committed to new investment and the creation of new jobs. The new access must be on public right-of-way for public use (state, city, or county) and the project sponsor (city or county) must maintain the completed facility unless the facility consists of turn lanes, crossovers, etc., that are located on state highways. Industrial access funds are limited to construction, construction engineering and inspection costs. The project sponsor is responsible for all preliminary engineering, right-ofway acquisition, and utility relocation costs.
  • The Great Streets Initiative in the District of Columbia focuses on six major corridors in the District of Columbia. The purpose is to increase local neighborhood livability and economic development by improving the physical, economic and safety condition of the corridors and create a new environment that invites private investment and neighborhood pride. Involving multiple agencies over a period of several years, the program is intended to transform under-invested corridors into vibrant well-maintained neighborhoods supported by residents, merchants and patrons. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development along with the District Department of Transportation are working with private and not-for-profit developers to target development and restore historic structures and sites. This Initiative is a multidisciplinary approach to corridor improvement, comprised of public realm investments, strategic land use plans, public safety strategies, and economic development assistance. Key partners include the District DOT, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED), the Office of Planning (OP), the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and the Neighborhood Services Coordinators (NSC).
  • In Danville, Vermont, the goals for the reconstruction of US Route 2 and the redevelopment around it were to address safety concerns and enhance community character. Through this project, interested residents formed a Local Review Committee that worked with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Vermont Arts Council to ensure enhancement of the historic section of the town and facilitate community involvement.
  • Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) uses the Unified Planning Word Program (UPWP) to support Transportation Management and Operations (M&O) funding. Through the development of an initial regional ITS architecture, stakeholder agencies and jurisdictions in the Phoenix metropolitan area recognized the need for a Regional Concept of Transportation Operations. The Maricopa Association of Governments, the region's MPO, wanted to ensure that this M&O planning work took place in a timely fashion because it was central to ongoing M&O coordination activities. By including the Regional Concept of Operations project in MAG's UPWP, staff ensured financial support for this critical activity. The project was completed in 2003 and is the first comprehensive example in the US for an urban transportation operations plan. For more information about this example, contact Sarath Joshua: .
  • In the Salt Lake City Region, the MPO has indicated its preference that applications for limited ITS funds come from multi-agency teams. As a result, Utah DOT, the Utah Transit Agency, and individual cities routinely submit joint applications. This has increased interagency management and operations coordination and limited the number of times that the MPO must go through the process of selecting between individual city requests. For more information about this example, contact Chuck Chappell: .
  • Washington State DOT had to address a severe disparity between transportation needs and revenues in its 20-year transportation plan. The plan prioritizes investment choices as follows:
    1. Maintenance, traffic operations, and preservation activities are top priorities and are first in line for available revenues.
    2. Highway safety, environmental retrofit, economic initiatives, and a Puget Sound core system of HOV lanes are high priorities and are second in line for available revenues.
    3. Revenues remaining after the above priorities are addressed go to other highway mobility improvements.
    Traffic operational solutions are considered as the first step in addressing a congestion problem identified in the plan. The stated goal of operational strategies is to reduce delay of both people and freight on the state's system. The plan defines operational strategies to include traveler information systems, safety enhancements, ramp metering in peak hours, service patrols and incident response teams, signal timing and HOV lanes, and improving advanced technology applications for commercial vehicles. For more information about this example, contact Toby Rickman: .

Case studies

How can I get started?

All regions lack sufficient funds to implement the full spectrum of transportation projects and programs desired by the region. Sometimes, competition for resources between and within agencies can hinder regional coordination and prevent the region from achieving the full benefits of system-wide M&O strategies. Some ideas to help get you started include the following:

  • "Link funding to planning goals and objectives
  • Develop innovative operations funding sources
  • Build on emergency response needs to create regional momentum for collaboration
  • Prioritize multi-jurisdiction funding requests
  • Integrate capital investments and management and operations requests within one budget process
  • Share office facilities to inspire enhanced collaboration
  • Use funding as a tool to attract participation in M&O discussions
  • See http://www.plan4operations.dot.gov/funding.htm for additional information on funding and resource sharing

Where can I get more information?