Transportation Planning Process

Bernalillo County Public Works Division, Transportation Planning Section (TPS), is responsible for transportation planning for the unincorporated area of the County. TPS uses a number of studies for identifying transportation needs. Transportation is broadly defined to include mobility for motor vehicles, transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Project Identification
Every year the county conducts an inventory by mapping its 730 miles of roadway by segment length and width for pavement conditions, remaining surface life, maintenance responsibility, ownership, right-of-way, etc. Another continuous inventory of traffic devices includes signs, striping, signals, lights, flashers, guardrails, crossings, calming, etc.
Every five years, the county conducts an inventory of pedestrian, bicycle, and ADA facility conditions. Pedestrian and bicycle facility needs are mapped and future projects identified in an updated Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Action Plan and associated ADA Transition Plan. A number of community meetings are held to gather feedback from the general public and stakeholder groups. The plans are adopted by the Bernalillo Board of County Commissioners (BCC).

When necessary TPS coordinates with County Planning and Development Services to prepare sector development plans (SDPs) for major transportation corridors. The corridor plans allow for integrated land use and transportation planning to ensure transportation facilities correspond to future development occurring within the unincorporated county. Public participation is strongly encouraged and the SDPs are adopted by the County Commission.

County transportation staff participates every four years along with other jurisdictions in the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area (AMPA) at Mid Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MRMPO) to prepare a regional long-range transportation plan. The metropolitan transportation plan (MTP) identifies transportation network issues including traffic safety, congestion, capacity, maintenance, access, and connectivity for all modes. The MTP identifies future roadway preservation, capacity, transit, and trails projects that will address the network issues within a projected constrained budget of federal and local funding. An extensive public participation process is conducted throughout the region to provide input on the MTP. The MTP is adopted by local agency policy makers including County Commissioners.

Project Evaluation
Transportation projects that result from the planning studies undergo a technical evaluation every two years as part of the general obligation (GO) bond cycle. Projects are ranked based on population served and need. The county has identified over $500 million in transportation maintenance and new construction projects including non-motorized facilities. Because funding is limited, technical evaluations serve as a resource tool for the Deputy County manager, County Manager, and the County Commissioners for prioritizing potential projects to receive funding. Outside the East Mountains, complete streets projects in design or construction phases are identified in an annual memo to Commissioners per ordinance.

Project Funding
County CIP and Public Works staff request and receive local, state, and federal funding sources totaling approximately $80 million to the county over a six-year period. The GO bond elections provide approximately $12 million in local transportation funding every two years. Another source of local funding are development impact fees for select roadway facilities which are re-evaluated every five years. The county receives on average $1.2 million annually ($700,000 in capital outlay and $450,000 in Local Government Road Fund grants) from the state. Finally, federal funding provides up to $40 million over a six-year period for transportation projects in the unincorporated county.

Project Approval
Local transportation funding is approved by the voters every two years in the GO bond election after projects are selected by the County Commissioners. Commissioners also recommend projects to the state as part of its annual update the County’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP). The public is encouraged to attend meetings and provide input to the commissioners on capital projects. Capital outlay funding to local governments is approved most years by the state legislature and governor. Federal funding is approved every two years by the Metropolitan Transportation Board (MTB), New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the transportation improvement program (TIP) process. Public comment is encouraged by the MTB on transportation projects under consideration.

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