Tag Archives: transparency

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:

The Transparency Project: Part 5 – Who Selects the CIP Projects?

10 May

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

  • Who selects the CIP projects?
  • How are citizens engaged in the process?

City Charter and CIP Process

The CIP text quotes the City Charter and explains the process used to formulate the CIP:

 

Here is a summary of the differences between the process specified in the CIP and City Charter, and the actual process as we discovered in our analysis and after talking with many people working in City Hall:

City Charter and CIP Actual Process
The Planning Director ranks projects for alignment with the City’s Master Plan. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking.
Unranked projects will not be funded…unless the Planning Department fails to do the ranking. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking, so we assume the loophole is used every year.
There are several other mentions of the project ranking process and how it assures an unbiased, systematic selection process that aligns with the City Master Plans. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking.
“The Transportation Master Plan sets forth the vision and goals for the transportation network in Omaha” The Transportation Master Plan has been largely ignored and neglected.
The CIP formulation process has no provisions for public input. Unfortunately, this is true. Comments to City Council in January and February may make their way to the selection committee, but there is no formal process.

In short, the City Charter is not followed and the process is closed to the public. The City says one thing and does another in a process that is closed to the public.

The Transportation Master Plan

Continue reading

The Transparency Project: Part 2 – What Is the Fund Source?

2 May

To catch up on the Transparency Project, you can review our Introduction to Capital Improvement, and Transparency Project: Part 1 – Capital Improvement Program, What’s Inside

This is the second blog post from our Transparency Project series on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). We’re following the Mode Shift CIP game board and we’ve reached step 2: A look at the CIP’s funding.

We started by looking at the details inside each of the three bins shown above. Along the way, we question a surge in the use of City funds, a plunge of the federal contribution, phantom local funds, and millions of work left out of the CIP.

Three Main Sources

We can divide the $322 million 2017-2022 capital budget for transportation projects into 3 main sources:

Continue reading