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Program Purpose

The metropolitan planning process establishes a cooperative, continuous, and comprehensive framework for making transportation investment decisions in metropolitan areas. Program oversight is a joint FHWA/FTA responsibility.

Continuing Provisions

Among the most significant continuing provisions are the following:


Metropolitan transportation planning funding derives from two sources: a 1% takedown from the STP, Bridge, CMAQ, IM, and NHS Programs; and transit authorizations, the funding for which comes from both the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund and the General Fund.

FHWA metropolitan transportation planning funding from the 1 percent takedown averages $187.7 million per year for the 6 years of TEA-21, for a total of $1,126 million.

FTA metropolitan transportation planning funding authorizations may vary for any year, depending on the degree to which Congress appropriates non-guaranteed funds authorized to be appropriated from the General Fund. Funding authorized from the Mass Transit Account of the HTF, and certain funds authorized to be appropriated from the General Fund are guaranteed. Metropolitan planning authorizations from all sources average a total of $73.6 million per year for the 6 years of TEA-21, or a total of $441.5 million, while guaranteed funding averages $50.1 million per year, for a total of $300.8 million. [3029(a)]

Key Modifications

TEA-21 consolidates the previous sixteen planning factors into seven broad areas to be considered in the planning process (same as for statewide planning): [1203(f)]

Failure to consider any one of the areas is not reviewable in court.

Modifies the general objectives of the planning process to include operation and management of the transportation system. [1203(a)]

Modifies provision for designating multiple MPOs in urbanized areas, adding a requirement for MPO and Governor concurrence. [1203(b)]

Modifies transportation planning area boundary relationship to nonattainment area boundaries. Boundaries established on date of enactment remain as is, but future expansions of nonattainment area boundaries do not force expansion of transportation planning area unless agreed to by Governor and MPO. New MPO planning area boundaries will reflect nonattainment areas as agreed to by Governor and local officials. [1203(c)]

Secretary shall encourage coordination of federally funded non-emergency transportation services in metropolitan planning areas, e.g., welfare to work. [1203(d)]

Adds provision requiring coordination where project crosses MPO planning area boundaries. [1203(e)]

Specifically identifies freight shippers and users of public transit on list of stakeholders to be given opportunity to comment on plans and TIPs. [1203(h)]

Adds a requirement for MPO, State, and transit agencies to cooperate in the development of financial estimates that support plan and TIP development. [1203(h)]

Clarifies the relationship between project selection and TIP development (project selection means implementation from a cooperatively developed TIP). [1203(h)]

Adds option of identifying additional projects for illustrative purposes that would be included in plans and TIPs if reasonable additional resources were available. Additional action by States, MPOs and the Secretary is required to advance such projects. [1203(h)]

Requires publication of an annual listing of projects for which Federal funds have been obligated in the preceding year. [1203(h)]

Adds requirement for public involvement during certification review. [1203(i)]

Modifies sanctions associated with triennial certification in TMA by changing options available to Secretary for withholding funds. [1203(i)]

Exempts MPO plans and programs as actions addressed by NEPA. [1203(m)]

Replaces the stand alone Major Investment Study requirement of FHWA/FTA’s joint planning regulation with a directive that, for federally funded highway and transit projects, analyses under the planning provisions of the Act and NEPA be integrated. [1308]

September 14, 1998

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