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Planning for Your Federal-Aid Project: Planning

The foundation of a successful infrastructure project is good planning, and the best place to start is with a clear understanding of the purpose of the proposed project or the need you are trying to fulfill.

If you are more certain that your project is eligible for federal funds, you may choose to complete the NOACA Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Project Amendment and Modification Form. The application begins the actual planning process and is used to document your project’s planning history and eligibility for federal aid.

  • If your project passes the initial screening (that is, if it qualifies as a federal-aid project and there is sufficient information), NOACA staff will notify you of the next step in the planning process.
  • If your project does not pass the initial screening, you will be given a written notification explaining the reason(s).
Experienced members of NOACA’s staff are available to meet with you to discuss your project and explain the planning review process. NOACA’s role is to:

  • help you identify the transportation need that the project will address,
  • determine if the proposed project will offer the best, most cost-effective solution, and
  • help identify complexities and complications that can slow down project development.
After screening, your project goes through NOACA’s Project Planning Review (PPR) process, which follows a quarterly schedule. It is only after the planning is completed that the project can move forward to the programming stage and prioritizing stage, and informed talk of funding can take place.

Important points to remember:

  • The federal-aid program is not a grant program (where funds are delivered up front).
  • There are federal planning requirements that must be met.
  • Many problems result from the lack of advance planning and coordination rather than the lack of federal funds.
  • If you are seeking federal aid, the sooner you start the process and the more planning you do, the better your chances of a successful project.

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