Tag Archives: Omaha

The Transparency Project: Part 4 – What Are the CIP Projects? Where Are They?

8 May

This is the fourth post from the Transparency series, following the steps of the Mode Shift CIP game board. We continue our study of the City of Omaha’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), with a look at these questions:

  • What are the CIP transportation projects?
  • Where are they located?

What are the CIP Projects?

Mode Shift’s CIP database classifies the projects by Work Type:

  • Automobile Capacity – Projects that add lanes of automobile traffic or otherwise allow more automobile capacity.
  • Automobile Infrastructure – Replacement of automobile infrastructure that has reached its end of life, without any increase to automobile capacity.
  • Transit – Improvements to the public transit system. These projects have no City funds and are not run by the City, so perhaps they don’t belong in the CIP. But the BRT project is in the CIP, so we are including it as well.
  • Streetscape – Improvements to a street front such as wider sidewalks, bump out at street crossings, better lighting, and bicycle parking.
  • Pedestrian – Improvements for pedestrian traffic, such as ADA compliant sidewalks, foot bridges, etc.
  • Cycling – Improvements to cycling routes such as protected lanes, painted lanes, signage, etc.
  • Other – Green street corridor study and master plan, and city-wide safety projects.

In all cases, it is the driver behind the project that dictates the category. So if a widening project also replaces aging infrastructure, adds ADA compliant sidewalks and access to a cycling trail, it is considered an Automobile Capacity project, because none of the other improvements would occur if not for the driving desire to widen the street. Mode Shift relied on the CIP project descriptions to apply the Work Type to each project.

The $322 million of Capital Budget spanning from 2017 to 2022 is split as follows:

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The Transparency Project: Part 3 – What Does the Past Cost Tell Us?

6 May

This is the third blog post from the Transparency series, following the steps of the Mode Shift CIP game board. This blog post focuses on the Capital Improvement Program’s (CIP) past cost data:

The Expenditures (actual cost) for each project active in the Previous Year

The Appropriations (funds allocated as budget) for each project scheduled during the Current Year

The Capital Budget (budget designated for Capital Improvement) for each project scheduled during the Next 6 Years

We are going to focus on two questions:

  1. What is the City of Omaha spending on transportation?
  2. Is the CIP reliable?
    • If a project is scheduled to start in a certain year, can we count on it starting as planned?
    • If a project is budgeted for a certain amount, can we count on it cost that amount?

Let’s start with a few definitions:

  • Current Year – The year in which the CIP is published
  • Next 6 Years – The 6 years that follow the Current Year
  • Previous Year – The year before the Current Year

Each CIP is supposed to include:

A. The Expenditures (actual cost) for each project active in the Previous Year.
B. The Appropriations (funds allocated as budget) for each project scheduled during the Current Year.
C. The Capital Budget (budget designated for Capital Improvement) for each project scheduled during the Next 6 Years.

Even though B & C above have different names, we can both treat them as budget. So we can say that each CIP is supposed to include:

A. The actual cost for each project active the Previous Year
B. Project budgets for the Current Year and for the Next 6 years

Let’s return to our questions:

    1. What is the City of Omaha spending on transportation? If we add up all the actual costs, we’ll get the answer.
    2. Is the CIP reliable? If we can show that each project’s actual cost occurs when planned and matches the budget, then the CIP is reliable.

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Our Analysis of the Mayoral Candidates

3 May

We are pleased so many issues relevant to transportation have been included in the mayoral debates and forums over the past several weeks. We’ve come a long way in these discussions since four years ago! Policies and practices implemented by the Mayor’s office obviously have a profound effect on our ability to achieve our vision and mission.

That is why we wanted to take this opportunity to summarize some of the key policy and practice areas that have been up for discussion and debate. These all play an important role in whether or not Omaha can be a city with a great, equitable, and affordable transportation system; where anyone can safely and efficiently get to where they need to go whether they own a car or not.

Please weigh these issues and do your own investigating (including reading responses to our questionnaire) and then VOTE on May 9. The future of our city is in the hands of you, the Omaha voter.

Growth and the Transportation System

The two candidates could not be more different on their approach to city growth, which plays an essential role in our ability (or not) to create a connected and viable multi-modal transportation system. Continue reading