MDOT Celebrates Centennial Year in 2016: Establishing the Multimodal Transportation Improvement Program
JACKSON, MISS.—On March 29, 2016, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) began its second century of service to the people of the state, 100 years after the Mississippi Legislature created the Mississippi State Highway Commission in 1916. MDOT will be celebrating throughout the year while recognizing major milestones that shaped the state’s transportation history.
As America entered a new era following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, much of the country was focused on foreign policy and military spending. Meanwhile, in 2002, the Mississippi Legislature established the Multimodal Transportation Improvement Program to provide funds for high priority improvement projects for airports, ports, railroads and public transit systems for which funds are not otherwise available.
MDOT’s Office of Intermodal Planning has a responsibility to improve the quality of life and support economic development by increasing awareness, facilitating partnerships and providing support for multimodal transportation networks. This responsibility extends to the air, water and public transit modal programs that are administered through the Aeronautics, Public Transit as well as the Ports and Waterways Divisions and coordinating rail programs administered through the Traffic Engineering Division.
By providing $10 million annually to support the Multimodal Transportation Improvement Program, MDOT is further sustaining an efficient and effective intermodal system by balancing modal investments. The program remains a valuable resource for leveraging strategic investments throughout the state. Funding for multimodal grants comes from MDOT’s Multimodal Transportation Improvement Fund and is allocated specifically to support multimodal grants each year. Grant applications, which include project details and funds requested, are reviewed and approved by a multimodal committee specific to each separate mode of transportation.
Since 2005, MDOT has provided all of the funding for the program from its annual state budget funds. These funds are allocated and distributed based on requirements authorized by legislation. Specifically, the percentages established in the statute include 38 percent for ports, 34 percent for airports, 16 percent for public transit and 12 percent for rails. Committees for each mode—compromised of representatives from airports, ports, railroads, public transit providers, the Mississippi Development Authority and MDOT—are selected to review applications and recommend approved projects based on established modal criteria annually. Subsequently, project awards are authorized by the Mississippi Transportation Commission.
MDOT administers the multimodal program, which entails conducting the actual application process, awarding grants following approval by the Commission, providing technical assistance when requested, processing eligible payments to recipients and closing out each project. In the case of MDOT’s Public Transit Division, responsible for the development of administration of general public and specialized transportation program grants and contracts, MDOT will actually order and disperse vehicles for recipients.
MDOT’s Ports and Waterways Division strives to raise awareness of the economic impact of Mississippi’s ports and waterways system by partnering with and supporting the state’s waterborne industry; the Aeronautics Division promotes a safe and effective air transportation system, while the Public Transit Division plans and supports improved access to safe and affordable mobility options for persons living in rural and small urban area. Learn more about each division at GoMDOT.com.
Today, from the ground to the air, the Multimodal Transportation Improvement Program remains a valuable resource for strategic investments throughout the state. These investments are essential to MDOT’s continued support for rail service via over 2,600 rail miles, 21 public transit providers, 16 publically owned ports and 76 airports that are vital parts of the state’s multimodal transportation system. In support of this comprehensive system, MDOT’s commitment to intermodal connectivity is exemplified by the focus of each modal division.
For more information about Mississippi’s evolving transportation history, including an interactive timeline, “MDOT 100 Moment” video series featuring Mississippi Native and American Country Music Recording Artist Steve Azar, and photos of the time capsule buried on MDOT’s centennial anniversary, atGoMDOT.com/MSDOT100 and follow @MississippiDOT on social media using the hashtag #MSDOT100.