Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRPTPA)

“Providing transportation planning services for Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, & Woodbury Counties”

WHAT IS AN RPA?

Regional transportation planning became the focal point in Iowa when the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) became law in 1991. As a starting point for forming a new state/regional transportation planning partnership, the Iowa Transportation Commission designated 16 regional transit-planning regions as the initial basis for organization. Local officials representing the cities and counties were provided the opportunity to indicate their preference to remain in their current transit-planning region, join with another region, or partner with other counties to form a new regional planning affiliation (RPA). Currently, there are 18 regional planning affiliations covering the state from border to border. The metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) were not included in the regions, but all planning agencies are encouraged to cooperate in planning efforts and coordinate programming.

WHO MAKES UP THE RPA?

Each RPA has established a technical advisory committee and a policy board for guiding the planning and programming process for the region. The technical committee is made up of professional staff, including engineers and planners, from member towns and counties. The policy board includes local elected officials from throughout the region. These officials are responsible for approving all plans and projects developed by the technical committee. Representatives of the state attend all technical and policy meetings to help coordinate planning and programming efforts. In combination with the RPA staff, the committee conducts research, develops technical tools and analysis for the region, and advises the RPA policy board on technical and administrative issues related to regional transportation planning. The RPA convenes interested parties and encourages broad consideration of issues and ideas on how to address the area’s transportation problems. The partnership between the state and the regions has been beneficial for Iowa. A new appreciation of the infrastructure dilemmas facing each government is apparent. The coordination of efforts has been key to the development of the planning and programming process in Iowa.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE RPA?

Each RPA established a transportation planning process aimed at the adoption of a Regional Transportation Plan. This plan includes both long-term and short-term strategies and actions that lead to the development of an integrated, intermodal transportation system. The regional plan includes such details as an inventory of all transportation facilities and services, including:

• Use and condition of those facilities and services
• A 20-year forecast of the facilities and services needs
• An estimate of the long-term and short-term funding needs and an establishment of goals, strategies and priorities for accomplishing those needs

The plan is reviewed and updated at least every five years. The policy board approves this long-range transportation plan and projects included in the annual elements of the transportation improvement program.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

WHAT IS AN MPO?

A Metropolitan Planning Organization is a group composed of locally elected officials, state department of transportation officials and transit operators who provide a forum in order to determine transportation objectives to meet the needs of their respective metropolitan area. MPO’s currently operate under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century where each MPO is responsible for the promotion of transportation systems which embrace a variety of modes in a manner that efficiently maximizes the mobility of people and goods with minimal energy consumption, air and water pollution, and social impacts. The United States Federal Government requires that each urban area (defined as an area consisting of more than 50,000 individuals) within the 50 states shall be designated an MPO. The mission of MPOs is to assist in building a regional agreement on transportation issues among local governments, state transportation agencies, and transit/transportation authorities. Funding for each MPO is based on a number of criteria including the population of the respective area and the degree of need for a specific region.

WHO MAKES UP THE MPO?

Each MPO has a policy board comprised of elected officials representing the different areas within the boundary of the MPO. This board is advised by a technical committee that consists of technical staff from such areas as planning, engineering, and public administration from jurisdictions within each MPO. In combination with the MPO staff, the committee conducts research, develops technical tools and analysis for the region, and advises the MPO policy board on technical and administrative issues related to regional transportation planning.The MPO convenes interested parties and encourages broad consideration of issues and ideas on how to address the area’s transportation problems.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE MPO?

The MPO is required to produce the transportation plan that presents the vision of the regional transportation system over a span of twenty years and is reviewed and updated every five years. Each MPO is also responsible for developing a multi-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that brings together all highway, transit, bicycle, pedestrian and other modal projects into a single document for review and approval by decision-makers and the public. The TIP is a fiscally-constrained four year program of transportation improvements updated at least every two years and consistent with the transportation plan.