State highway investment decisions have traditionally been based on needs studies, long-range system plans, and midrange or short-range single-option programs. These decision-making tools suffer from a variety of shortcomings--portrayal of enormous and unrealistic dollar requirements to addrsss highway deficiencies, inflexibility, inability to weight trade-offs between and within program areas, lack of means to maximize statewide benefits over local or project benefits, and failure to consider a broad range of social, economic, and environmental consequences. This paper describes an innovative six-year state highway programming process, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, that attempts to remove these shortcomings. In this process, the district offices periodically develop, under statewide policy guides, alternative six-year highway programs from alternative project concepts that address deficient segments of the highway system. The low-program option is based on the minimum requirements to maintain the existing system. Higher-level programs are based on alternative future state and federal highway revenue assumptions and policy directions. For budgeting purposes, policy and program choices are presented to decision makers, legislators, and the public by describing for each program its composition, impacts on highway deficiencies and performance, and social, economic, and environmental effects. Key trade-offs within and between programs are identified. The process includes cost/benefit analysis of major projects; allows for staging of investments; is not easily undermined by uncertainty; improves use of staff and budget; informs the public of the department's intentions; and improves coordination of programming and budgeting efforts of state, regional, and local agencies. The department is committed to extending this approach to programming to all modes in the future. (Author)

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 1-7
  • Monograph Title: Program Planning, Finance, and Preconstruction Management
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00319138
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309030501
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 27 1980 12:00AM