5.2. — Budget Integration

5.2. — Budget Integration 

Nearly every financial transaction has some impact to budget—Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) and Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) amendments, change orders and minor contract revisions, federal redistribution, project advertisement, and expenditures. A subset of those transactions also impacts pool balances.

DAF's CDOT DAF Project Funding Process Manual and  Program Close Rules are examples of recent documents that guide aspects of program management. A key element for program and project managers is ascertaining and tracking the correct balances for their budget pools and tracking where and how these pool balances are committed, what remains available, and how they may be programmed, rolled forward, and otherwise managed. 

5.2.1. — Current Budget and STIP Processes

While tracking and properly allocating pool balances are central to the success of program and project management efforts, it is not the only financial issue to track. For example, it is also important to remain aware of any TIP or STIP changes that may occur for projects within assigned responsibilities. 

Each project that receives federal funding or is regionally significant follows a planning process and must be included in the STIP. If the project is also within a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) it must also appear in the TIP. The following flow charts describe the planning process and the STIP process for amending a project into the STIP. The STIP is “fiscally constrained” so that when a project is included in the STIP it will generally tell you what funding sources are available for that project and the year you can expect them to be available. These are key pieces of information that you will need to ultimately get a project budgeted. Under current CDOT policy include in a project’s budget funds allotted for that project in future years of the current STIP.

The following two process maps detail the process through which a proposed project must proceed either for entry into the STIP or to amend the STIP to reflect changes to a project’s scope, budget, or funding source. For additional information on the STIP process and how to either have a project added, deleted or amended please see CDOT Current STIP Reports.

Modifying the STIP and TIP.jpg

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STIP Planning and Approval

5.2.2. — Allocating Funds

CDOT conducts a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative performance-based multi-modal planning process in accordance with federal and state requirements. This process includes multiple steps as detailed in the CDOT 2040 Program Distribution Process.

A key aspect of this process is the development and projection of funding allocations to the various programs and to the regions. Although subject to annual budget changes, the formulae in Appendix D of the Program Distribution document linked above are generally stable; these numbers can provide a sound basis for planning purposes. 

5.2.3. — Annual Budget Process

In addition to this long-term planning process, CDOT goes through an annual budget process. The DAF develops the annual budget via an iterative process where it collaborates with the regions and various headquarter sections on their needs and priorities. Invariably there are more funds sought than are available. DAF works with the Executive Management Team and the Executive Director to present a draft annual budget to the Transportation Commission (TC). After going through an extensive process with the TC, an annual budget is approved. Once approved, DAF (in accordance with the program distribution formulae noted above and any modifications approved by the TC) “pushes” funds to the various funding pools for the upcoming fiscal year. The amounts pushed to these pools, combined with any “roll forwards” of unexpended balances in a pool from a prior year, are the funds available to spend on program execution for that fiscal year. A key factor for any program manager to consider is whether the funds in a particular pool are subject to a roll forward or subject to reprioritization, retirement, or reprogramming. 

Some of the most common funding sources that are subject to either retirement or reprogramming at year-end are shown below:

Table of annual budget process by Program Code

This is not a complete list and these rules include a year-end minimum reserve exemption; there is also an exception process where you can request to retain unused funds at year-end with those requests reviewed by the Program Management Governance Committee: Note that simply avoiding the loss of these funds from your pool is not a valid reason for an exception request. It is important for you to familiarize yourself with these rules in more detail; you can find them here. In addition, you can find the complete spreadsheet of what the current rules are for year-end by fund source here. Key programs to regional program managers and project managers include: 

  • Surface Treatment
  • Bridge and Bridge Enterprise
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)
  • FASTER Safety
  • Regional Priority Program (RPP)
  • Signals
  • ITS
  • Culverts
  • Tunnels
  • Walls
  • Geohazards
  • Senate Bill (SB)-267
  • SB-1
  • National Highway Freight
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance
  • Permanent Water Quality

5.2.5  — Budgeting Projects

As a project or program manager, one of your roles is to develop and deliver projects. One key element to doing so is to identify in conjunction with regional management, the budgetary sources to fund your project and then the approvals necessary to authorize you to create that project and then if need be to modify that budget. A chart of the current rules for project-related transactions and the levels of approval they require can be found here.

5.2.6. — Programming and Managing Projects

One of the most important jobs for CDOT is to deliver to the people of Colorado a thoughtfully planned capital program that ensures the selection of the right projects to construct to maintain or improve the state’s transportation system. 

The process for Project Creation is mapped here. Within this process, map lies a single step called “Create/Add Project to SAP.” This step is actually quite detailed with most of it occurring in SAP within the CJ20N transaction.  Before you start this process, you must assemble some basic project information to enter in SAP. This information includes Responsible Cost Center, Fund Number, Project Prefix, Profit Center, Investment Profile, Project Description, Project Scope, Project Phases and Sub Phases (WBS elements), and Funding Sources and Amounts.

Project Builder

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