The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) was established by Ohio Revised Code in 1997 to help the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) develop and modify a project selection process and which approves funding for the development and construction of the Major New Capacity Program. The major new capacity project selection process operates under the purview of TRAC.
The TRAC has nine members and is chaired by the Director of the ODOT. Six members are appointed by the Governor and one each by the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and the president of the Ohio Senate. Members have overlapping terms. The Director provides funds for new construction only after assuring that system preservation needs have been met. The use of the new construction funds is the responsibility of the TRAC, but the TRAC does not have authority over other aspects of the Department of Transportation.
The TRAC defines Major New Capacity projects as those projects greater than $12 million which increase the capacity of a transportation facility or reduce congestion. All projects that cost ODOT greater than $12 million, request Major New funding, and add capacity to a transportation facility must come before the TRAC. This definition includes all new interchanges proposed for economic development or local access, any significant interchange modifications, bypasses, general purpose lane additions, intermodal facilities, major transit facilities, or Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
Projects "eligible" for TRAC funding typically include capital improvement projects that improve capacity or reduce congestion such as the following:
- Adding an additional lane on a state highway or interstate
- Adding an additional lane on bridges
- New interchanges
- New facilities that bypass congested state highways or interstates
- New rail lines for public transportation
- Capital cost for ITS facilities
- Intermodal port and rail projects
Historically, TRAC has not participated in projects that demonstrate minor capacity improvements or projects with a scope of work that may be closely related to preservation or maintenance activities such as:
- Widen a road from 10-foot lanes to 12-foot lanes
- Purchasing buses or other rolling stock
- Turning lane improvements
- Resurfacing projects
- Local road improvements or bridge replacements
- Project with a total project cost under $12 million
The TRAC does not initiate projects but rather reviews and evaluates projects applications submitted for consideration. Project applications are submitted by completing the on-line project application. Projects may be submitted by public agencies such as:
- The Ohio Department of Transportation District Offices
- Metropolitan Planning Organizations
- County Engineers
- Transit Authorities
- County Commissioners
- Port Authorities
- Transportation Improvement Districts
The TRAC application process usually runs from May 1 to May 31.
ODOT Program Management Staff reviews the applications submitted and scores applications in accordance with TRAC policy to provide a draft project score. Draft scores are shared with project sponsors to determine if any additional information is needed. Once a final score has been assigned, ODOT Program Management Staff provides the information to TRAC for their evaluation and consideration.
The TRAC will hold public hearings around the state in August and September, providing project sponsors with the opportunity to convey information about their respective projects that may not be captured as part of the on-line application process.
After the public hearing process, TRAC will develop a DRAFT funding list which is published for public comment. Once public comment has been received and reviewed, TRAC will move to adopt a FINAL Major New Construction Program Funding List.
From application submission to adoption of a FINAL Major New Construction Program Funding List is approximately six months to allow for sufficient time for review, questions, and public comment.