Development of the Community Connections Program

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Development of the Community Connections (CC) program began with a federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) study (PDF) (HTML).

MPO staff surveyed other MPOs with similar programs to learn what factors they identified as important in evaluating projects (PDF) (HTML). In October 2018, staff presented a basic program framework to the MPO.

MPO staff also surveyed MPO board members, asking them to prioritize which factors they considered most important in project evaluation. Staff presented the results (PDF) (HTML) of the board member survey to the MPO and used the results to generate a draft evaluation criteria framework for CC projects (PDF) (HTML). MPO staff presented the draft evaluation criteria framework to the MPO with a draft decision tree for evaluating CC projects.

The most important element of CC development was the MPO’s decision to conduct a pilot round of the program for funding projects in FFY 2021 before proceeding with the regular administration of the application cycle and program in future years. To guide the pilot round, staff produced a memorandum explaining the draft program framework (PDF) (HTML) and a Universe of Potential Projects identified through outreach, MPO, or partner agency studies (PDF) (HTML). For the pilot round, the MPO decided to solicit applications from these previously identified project proponents to test the project evaluation criteria and framework.

Conducting a Pilot Round

MPO staff continued developing the CC program in FFY 2020 (PDF) (HTML). In October 2019, MPO staff released an application for the pilot round of the CC program (PDF) (Microsoft Word) to identify projects. Applications were due in December 2019.

In January 2020, staff discussed the project evaluation criteria developed over the past year with the MPO, and provided an update on the 11 applications received for the pilot CC round. At the end of February 2020, staff presented the MPO with a scored list of eight projects recommended for funding in the FFYs 2021–25 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). These projects are expected to be programmed with the rest of the newly developed FFYs 2021–25 TIP in upcoming months.

Following approval of the FFYs 2021–25 TIP, MPO staff will review the scoring and evaluation framework of the pilot round of the CC program and suggest any necessary changes to the MPO board. The MPO expects to release a full, open solicitation for projects for funding in future years in Fall 2020.


Sandy Johnston, MPO Staff