The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) is one of 11 regional planning commissions in Vermont, and also serves the region as the sole Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operating within Vermont. Based on the 2010 census, Chittenden County is home to approximately one-fourth of Vermont’s residents, making it the most populous county in the state.
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Key Products of the MPO
As the official MPO for the region, CCRPC is required to prepare and update a number of planning documents that detail the investments and planning activities that will help improve regional transportation. They include:
Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) »
Updated every five years, the MTP sets out a vision for the development of the region’s transportation infrastructure over the next twenty years. It includes goals and objectives, analysis of regional trends and planned improvement projects throughout the county in all modes of transportation.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) »
Updated annually, the TIP is a three-year agenda of improvement projects. To be eligible for federal funding, proposed projects must be approved by the CCRPC Commissioners for inclusion in the TIP.
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) »
Updated annually, the UPWP summarizes the transportation planning activities of the CCRPC Transportation planning staff, its member agencies and other transportation and planning agencies conducting work in the region.
One standing committee — the Transportation Advisory Committee, or TAC — makes recommendations on action items to be considered by the full Board of Directors. The TAC is composed of planners and engineers from member agencies, as well as appointed representatives of various regional interest groups. As warranted, the TAC will appoint special subcommittees to focus on specific topics or projects.
All scheduled Board of Directors and TAC meetings are open to the public, and the CCRPC welcomes and encourages public participation in and input to the metropolitan transportation planning process. The Commissioners meet in public session on the third Wednesday of each month, at the offices of the CCRPC unless otherwise indicated. The TAC also meets monthly, usually on the first Tuesday. All regular CCRPC meetings include an opportunity for public comments on pertinent issues. In addition, public hearings on specific items, such as amendments to the TIP or UPWP, are held as needed throughout the year.
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962
This act established the federal requirement of a “Continuing, Cooperative, & Comprehensive” transportation planning process (The so-called 3-C’s process) to be undertaken for all federally funded transportation projects in urbanized areas of 50,000 population or greater
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973
This act further formalized the 3-C’s process by mandating the creation of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), which required governors of states to formally designate a locally-represented MPO in each urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or greater.
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
The purpose of this act was to develop a “National Intermodal Transportation System that is economically efficient, environmentally sound, provides the foundation for the Nation to compete in the global economy and will move people and goods in an energy efficient manner.”
This act established the provision that MPO’s undertake development of a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a long-range plan, and an annual work program. It also required for states; a statewide planning process, a statewide transportation plan, and a statewide transportation improvement program (STIP).
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) »
Enacted in July 1998, “TEA-21″ calls for integrating all modes of transportation – cars, trains, trucks, buses, ferries, walking and biking – into a single, efficient and “seamless” transportation system. It mandates greater local control over transportation funding decisions through MPOs.
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) »
On 10 August 2005, the new Federal surface transportation act (SAFETEA-LU) was signed into law, authorizing a $286.4 billion transportation program for a 5-year period; FFY 2004-2009. This act covers all surface transportation programs, such as highways, highway safety, transit, freight, and transportation research. SAFETEA-LU also has additional compliance rules to be met by MPOs for their planning documents adopted after July 1, 2007:
- Planning cycles for MTP & TIP.
- Annual listing of projects to include Pedestrian Walkways & Bicycle Transportation Facilities.
- Expansion of planning factors in MTP to include Increase Safety & Increase Transportation Securityas well as an expanded definition for Support Economic Vitality.
- MTP should refer to goals and objectives in the state-adopted Strategic Highway Safety Plans(SHSP).
- MTP must include a textual discussion of the types of potential environmental mitigation activities and potential locations for these activities, to restore and maintain environmental functions that could be affected by the MTP.
- MTP could refer to the procedure for consulting with the additional state and local agencies: 1. Environmental protection, 2. Tribal government, 3. Wildlife management, 4. Land management, 5. Historic preservation.
- Criteria for rating Major Capital Improvements for Transitto further include Economic Development Potential & Reliability of Ridership and Cost Forecasts.
- MTP should include written discussion of strategies to improve the performance of existing transportation facilities.
- Congestion Management Process/Systemis given a more central emphasis in plans and TIPs.
- Public Participation Plan (PPP): SAFETEA-LU requires a stand-alone, written plan for collecting public comments for MPO documents: 1. Make MTPs and TIPs available for public viewing in advance of board meetings where documents will be adopted. 2. The PPP should provide for meetings where the public can enter commentary. These meetings should be scheduled at convenient and accessible places and times. 3. The PPP must use visualization techniques. These techniques may vary, but can include maps, transportation models and animation. If the agency will be using these visual tools, it must be stated in the PPP. 4. Publish the MTP and TIP by electronic means (e.g. internet).
- Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plans: To receive funds from 5310 (Special Needs of Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities), 5316(g) (Job Access and Reverse Commute), or 5317(f) (New Freedom), plans must be developed through a process that includes representatives from public, private, and non-profit transportation providers.
- The cycle for conformity determinations for MTPs and TIPs is altered to a 4-year cycle.