Contact your city council representative about transparency in transportation planning.

30 Jun

In our recent series of bog posts about the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), we noted that the City Charter specifies certain steps to align the CIP with the Transportation Master Plan, and that we found no evidence that these steps are followed. To date, we have not received any information to change our assessment.

We believe the City should follow its own Charter and that the City Council should raise this issue as part of their review and approval of the 2018 CIP

In August, the City Council will review and approve the 2018-2023  (the 2018 CIP). This document will list the City’s transportation projects, the funds appropriated for 2017, and the funds budgeted for 2018-2023. There are 3 main process issues we hope the City Council considers before approving the CIP:

  • Master Plan Alignment: Do the projects in the CIP align with the Transportation Master Plan (TMP)?
    • The current TMP was adopted in 2012 and it “sets forth the vision and goals for the transportation network in Omaha. The overall aim of the Transportation Plan is to build a community that will provide safe, comfortable, continuous facilities for all modes of transportation and provide options for people of all ages and/or abilities” (City of Omaha CIP 2012-2016).
  • Project Ranking: Are all of the projects in the CIP ranked?
    • According to the City of Omaha Home Rule Charter, the “Planning Director shall examine each project for conformity with the master plan and shall prepare and submit for Planning Board approval a consolidated schedule of the projects”.
  • CIP Projects Fiscal and Physical Progress:
    • According to page 1 of the CIP “The CIP reflects both the fiscal status and the physical progress of each project.”
    • Starting in 2015, the project expenditures column is blank. Prior to that it is incomplete. The City tracks cost vs. budget and schedule information over the lifetime of a project but project delays and cost overruns are hidden or not reported.
    • What is the process when the CIP is not followed or changes need to be made?

Please contact your city council representative and ask them to make sure these process issues are corrected in the 2018-2023 CIP and continue to be implemented in future CIPs. Furthermore, we ask that a blanket line-item of $500,000 be added to this CIP for bicycle transportation infrastructure.

Below is the contact information for all the current City Council Members. If you aren’t sure who your city council member is, you can look up that information at votedouglascounty.com

District 1: Pete Festersen

402-444- 5527

Pete.Festersen@cityofomaha.org

District 5: Rich Pahls

402-444-5528

Rich.Pahls@cityofomaha.org

District 2: Ben Gray

402-444-5524

Ben.Gray@cityofomaha.org

District 6: Brinker Harding

402-444-5523

Brinker.Harding@cityofomaha.org

District 3: Chris Jerram

402-444-5525

Chris.Jerram@cityofomaha.org

District 7: Aimee Melton

402-444-5526

Aimee.Melton@cityofomaha.org

District 4: Vinny Palermo

402-444-5522

Vinny.Palermo@cityofomaha.org

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