Transportation for Communities recognizes four decision making partners (FHWA, state DOT, MPO, and resource agency) within transportation decision making. Each partner has specific interests related to their organization's mission, and their individual role in the transportation process is based primarily on these interests. The identified interests of each decision making partner provide the basis for much of the information available in the Decision Guide.
As the transportation policy-making authority for any urbanized area with a population over 50,000, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) represents the interests of the local governments and transportation agencies within the organization. Although the MPO is the primary decision maker in long range planning, its interests are present in all phases of transportation decision making. The basic interests for an MPO are related to the mandated planning factors, representing the stakeholders in the local area, and meeting the federal requirements.
There are four possible partner roles in Transportation for Communities. The specific partner role can change from one key decision to the next throughout the phases, and multiple partners can have the same role.
Decision Maker - The agency or agencies that either acts as the lead agency or is required to take legal action in the decision-making process. This partner has the ability to stop the process if agency interests are not being met at this decision.
Advisor - A decision-making partner who provides feedback as to whether the decision is supported or opposed and whether there are particular issues of concern. While this partner cannot stop the process at the key decision, their feedback may be crucial input for future key decisions.
Observer - A decision-making partner with limited involvement in a decision. This partner is kept updated but does not provide direction.
No Role - A decision-making partner is completely uninvolved at the decision because the resulting action is outside of their agency's involvement in the process.
Corridor Planning may occur within either an urban or rural area. A key difference between urban and rural corridor planning is the role of the MPO and the state DOT: the MPO is responsible for overseeing the transportation planning process in an urban area and the state DOT is responsible for the planning activities in rural areas. This means that while the MPO is a decision maker in corridor planning within its boundary, it has no role in rural corridor planning. Similarly, the state DOT is the decision maker for rural corridor planning, but has an advisory role in urban area planning. In instances where the corridor planning study spans both a rural and urban area, these two agencies will need to work more closely together to ensure all interests are addressed. This dynamic is repeated when programming projects in a rural area: the MPO has no role and the state DOT is the decision maker. The Decision Guide for the MPO agency view reflects the role in the urban area.
The Decision Guide provides a summary of the partner roles at each key decision in the Basics tab. The specific role of the MPO is available as you roll over each key decision in the graphic below. When you click on the key decision, you will have access to all of the data available to support that decision. Understanding partner roles and how they change throughout the transportation decision making process is essential to ensuring collaboration.
To get a snapshot of each Key Decision, roll over the Decision Guide graphic below. Click on any individual Key Decision to access detailed information including: purpose and anticipated outcomes; partner roles; integration with external planning processes; linkages across phases; questions to assist decision makers; and data, tools, technologies that support the decision.
Decision Maker - ensures LRTP development that is broadly inclusive and considers both the human and natural environment of the region
Decision Maker - ensures the LRTP is consistent with the larger regional vision and goals
Decision Maker - approves evaluation criteria that allows a broad comparison between scenarios and with respect to the goals and needs as well as transportation options
Decision Maker - ensures transportation deficiencies are technically sound and represent the true needs of the region
Decision Maker - approves revenue sources and project costs that are reasonable and reflect fiscal constraint
Decision Maker - ensures that strategies reflect all reasonable options for meeting the identified needs
Decision Maker - approves plan scenarios that reflect the broad interests of the region to support comparison and selection of a preferred
Decision Maker - adopts a preferred scenario that meets the regional goals and addresses the transportation deficiencies
Decision Maker - ensures the air quality conformity analysis meets all federal requirements
Decision Maker - adopts a LRTP that addresses the transportation needs of the region while remaining consistent with the approved vision and goals
Observer - observes the federal approval of the submitted conformity analysis
Decision Maker - approves revenue sources that are reasonable and equitable
Decision Maker - approves a methodology for consistently identifying project costs and allocating revenue that is easily understood by partners and stakeholders
Decision Maker - approves projects that are drawn from the adopted preferred scenario of the LRTP to maintain fiscal constraint
Decision Maker - approves project prioritization that is reasonable and equitable
Decision Maker - ensures the Draft TIP meets all federal requirements and is made available to stakeholders and partners for review and comment
Decision Maker - adopts a TIP that is consistent with the LRTP and is implementable
Observer - observes the incorporation of the TIP into the STIP in accordance with federal requirements
Advisor - provides support as needed for public comment on the STIP
Observer - observes the approval of the STIP (including the metropolitan TIP) with respect to conformity and fiscal constraint
Decision Maker (urban) - ensures the scope of the corridor planning study is sufficiently broad and inclusive to consider all potential solutions and opportunities
Decision Maker (urban) - ensures problem statements and opportunities consider the full range of corridor needs/goals and the adopted LRTP
Decision Maker (urban) - ensures goals for the corridor study address all needs and consider the goals of the region
Advisor (urban) - provides supporting information to assist in scoping of the environmental review and analysis in order to streamline project implementation
Decision Maker (urban) - approves evaluation criteria to allow a performance-based comparison of solutions in order to select the preferred
Decision Maker (urban) - approves a range of solution sets that meet the needs and opportunities within the corridor including non-transportation options
Decision Maker (urban) - adopts a preferred solution set that addresses the identified problems and opportunities of the corridor and supports the LRTP
Decision Maker (urban) - approves evaluation criteria and methodology and allows prioritization of the individual solutions
Decision Maker (urban) - adopts priorities for implementation that are fiscally sound and realistic
Advisor - provides support as needed for project scoping in the urban area based on regional information from the LRTP and the TIP
No Role - No action required with regard to NEPA Notice of Intent
Advisor - informs project purpose and need based on regional analysis of deficiencies and identified need
Advisor - informs consideration of study area from regional/ corridor planning
Advisor - provides support as needed for consideration of evaluation methods to compare project alternatives
Advisor - provides support on consideration of full range of alternatives based on regional/corridor planning. This includes documentation of alternatives eliminated from consideration.
Advisor - provides support on consideration of alternatives to be carried forward based on LRTP and/or corridor solutions considered; including documentation of alternatives eliminated.
Advisor - provides information to support the release of the Draft EIS including important stakeholders and regional considerations
No Role - No action required for permitting Public Notice
Advisor - provides information to support the selection of the preferred alternative including LRTP air quality conformity determination
No Role - no action required for permitting jurisdictional determination
No role - no action required on the determination of avoidance and minimization measures for the LEDPA
Observer - observes final NEPA document approval for consideration of impact to the LRTP, fiscal constraint, and air quality conformity
Observer - observes approval of the ROD
No Role - no action required on the rendering of permits
|Long Range Transportation Planning|
|Role Summary||The MPO is the formal decision maker in long range planning with the exception of the adoption of the finding of air quality conformity where it is an observer.|
|Interests||MPOs want to ensure that the long range planning process/resulting plan: |
|Role Summary||The MPO is a decision maker throughout most of corridor planning within its boundary, but advises the state DOT on the scope of the environmental review. In the rural area, the MPO has no role in corridor planning.|
|Interests||Aspects of the corridor planning process/resulting plan the MPO is interested in are: |
|Role Summary||The MPO is the decision maker throughout most of programming. However, the MPO does approve the TIP for its region. The State is required to include the TIP verbatim in its STIP, which is sent to the federal government for approval.|
|Interests||Aspects of the corridor planning process/resulting plan the MPO is interested in are: |
|Role Summary||The MPO is an advisor in much of the environmental review process and serve as a decision maker in the approval of a preferred alternative. The MPO does not have a significant role in permitting.|
|Interests||The MPO is interested in whether the environmental review process/environmental document: |