This is news, the state of North Carolina says it is now using benefits and costs to determine what projects should get built. It seems more of a cost-effectiveness ranking system rather than pure monetization, but it has the merits of being transparent in principle.
The Asheville Citizen-Times writes: Asheville's I-26 Connector project deemed high-cost, low benefit
But, state Board of Transportation member Wanda Proffitt said at a meeting to hear comments on the state's long-range transportation plan, at least those projects that do get built will be at the top of the list because objective criteria indicate they should be.
The Department of Transportation is now ranking proposed projects according to numerical factors like expected travel time saved, measures of congestion and accident rates.
"What we have done is take the old-time politics out of how we spend transportation dollars. Now we're doing it based on data and the priorities" of local transportation planning organizations, she said.
Only about 20 people attended the meeting, held to hear comments on DOT's proposed 2011-20 Transportation Improvement Program.
Half or more of that number were either DOT or local government officials who came to hear what other people had to say at the meeting for people in a seven-county area that includes Buncombe County.
The comments on the article were skeptical.