USDOT Reopens MPO Coordination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Comment Period for 30 Days

Posted on: September 23rd, 2016 by NADO Admin

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have reopened the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Coordination and Planning Area Reform that was published in June in order to receive additional public comments on several issues.  The original comment period closed on August 26 and FHWA and FTA received numerous requests for an extension of the comment period.  The NPRM makes several proposed changes transportation planning regulations including:

  • Changes to the definition of Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA), clarifying that it must include the entire urbanized area, plus the contiguous area forecast to become urbanized within the 20 year planning horizon;
  • For MPAs with more than one MPO, the rule requires Governors and MPOs to determine whether multiple MPOs are warranted within a single MPA, based on size and complexity of the area. If they determine it is not appropriate for multiple MPOs to serve an MPA, then the MPOs would be required to merge or adjust their jurisdiction to allow for only one MPO within the MPA;
  • Multiple MPOs within an MPA would jointly develop planning products including a single metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, and performance targets;
  • States and MPOs would be required to maintain a current planning agreement which would include a dispute resolution process;
  • These requirements would be phased in over 2 years after publication of a final rule.

The specific issues that FHWA and FTA has requested public comment on in the extended comment period are:

  • The impact of the proposed requirements for unified planning products where multiple MPOs serve the same urbanized area;
  • Potential exemptions that should be included in the final rule and the criteria for applying such exemptions; and
  • The expected costs of implementing the proposed rule.

Click here to view the original notice published in the Federal Register.  Click here to view the notice of the comment period extension.  The extended comment period for the NPRM closes October 24.

In August, NADO joined the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) in submitting comments expressing concerns about the NPRM.  Click here to view the comments.

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