CHAPTER 7. COUNTY COMMISSIONS AND OFFICERS.

§7-27-8.  Application to Commissioner of Highways for approval of road construction project plans.

(a) Review of applications. – The Commissioner of Highways shall review all proposed road construction project plans for conformity to statutory and regulatory requirements, the reasonableness of the project's budget, and the timetable for completion using the following criteria:

(1) The quality of the proposed road construction project and how it addresses transportation problems in the area in which the road construction project will be located;

(2) Whether there is credible evidence that, unless county transportation sales and use tax revenues are used to finance the road construction project, in whole or in part, the project would not otherwise be feasible in the time line proposed by the county commission;

(3) Whether the county transportation sales and use tax revenues will leverage or be the catalyst for the effective use of state or federal funding that is available;

(4) Whether there is substantial and credible evidence that the proposed road construction project is likely to be started and completed in a timely fashion;

(5) Whether the proposed project will, directly or indirectly, improve transportation in the area where the road construction project will occur, thereby benefitting county residents and facilitating commercial business development and expansion in the county;

(6) Whether the proposed road construction project will, directly or indirectly, assist in the creation of additional long-term employment opportunities in the area and the quality of jobs created to include, but not be limited to, wages and benefits;

(7) Whether the proposed road construction project will fulfill a pressing transportation need for the county, or part of the county, in which the road construction project would be located;

(8) Whether the county commission has a strategy for road construction in the county and whether the proposed road construction project is consistent with that strategy;

(9) Whether the road construction project is consistent with the goals of this article;

(10) Whether the road construction project is economically and fiscally sound using recognized business standards of finance and accounting; and

(11) Any other additional criteria established by the Commissioner of Highways by legislative rule.

(b) Decision of Commissioner of Highways. – Within sixty days after receipt of the county commission’s proposed road construction project plan or an amendment to a previously approved project plan, the Commissioner of Highways shall either (1) approve the plan as submitted, in whole or in part; (2) reject the plan as submitted, in whole or in part; or (3) return the plan to the county commission for further development or review in accordance with instructions from the Commissioner of Highways.  The decision of the commissioner is final and is not subject to judicial review.

(c) Certification of road construction project. – If the Commissioner of Highways approves a county's road construction project application, in whole or in part, the commissioner shall issue to the county commission a written certificate evidencing approval of each approved project.

(d) Assignment of project plan and individual projects. – Upon approval of a road construction project plan or an amendment to an existing project, the Commissioner of Highways shall:

(1) Assign a name to the road construction project for identification purposes, which name may include a geographic or other designation; and

(2) Assign each project within the road construction project plan a project number that begins with the federal information processing (FIPS) code number for the county, followed by a hyphen and a consecutive number beginning with the number “01," with each additional road construction project in the plan being assigned the next consecutive number.

(e) Rules. – The Commissioner of Highways may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the county road construction project application approval process and to further identify and describe the criteria and procedures he or she has established in connection therewith.