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Literature Review of Organizational Structures and Finance of Multi-jurisdictional Initiatives and the Implications for Megaregion Transportation Planning in the U.S.

Section IV. Case Studies : Multi -Jurisdictional Cooperation

Transportation planning and investment decisions at the scale of the megaregion will undoubtedly present new challenges to practitioners, scholars and policy makers. Planning for such large populations in multiple metropolitan areas within a region, as well as coordinating transportation projects, programs and investments between megaregions will require increased resources, coordination, communication and possibly new planning structures or organizations to facilitate effective results. Instead of having state and local governments competing against each other for limited funds and projects that address localized transportation concerns, the megaregion offers a framework for inter-jurisdiction cooperation (Ross et al., 2009a).

In crafting a structure for megaregion planning, this research will seek to ultimately develop a framework which, at a minimum, addresses a potential system of governance for this new spatial structure, what systems need to be integrated for data collection, data sharing and knowledge exchange, and how these currently fragmented funding and financing pools of resources can be coordinated to deliver projects which transcend local boundaries. The cases presented here are a mix of organizations or projects, both in the US and internationally, that engage in multi-jurisdictional planning or coordination. Exploration of these cases focuses on identifying and understanding the structure, function, role, and responsibilities of each participant organization. In addition, they may provide insights into processes or arrangements that are unique and which have added to their success in coordinating planning efforts or aiding project delivery.

A. Multiple MPOs

The metropolitan planning organization (MPO) has been the predominant federally backed planning organization designated to address urban multi-modal transportation planning at the regional level. However, over the last fifty years the "regional" scope of urban transportation planning has changed as a result of population growth, urban area expansion and increased relationships between regions due to progressive economic, communication, and infrastructure connections. The geographic planning areas originally designated to MPOs have not remained constant or static over this time period. As the total population of the nation grows, new MPOs are created as areas formerly below the minimum required MPO population threshold now are home to populations over 50,000. Rising urban populations have also changed the scope of existing MPOs as these organizations have to plan for larger populations that are distributed over increased land areas and which are facing more diverse and interrelated issues beyond transportation including environmental, social, economic, and equity concerns.

MPO's areas of responsibility have also grown with the expansion of metropolitan areas and in some cases these regions have begun to overlap with neighboring metropolitan areas under the responsibility of different MPOs. This spatial change and increased interactions between adjoining regions have resulted in blurred planning boundaries, and the once localized "regional" planning of one MPO now has to consider the growing interactions it has with other areas in a more global manner. Realizing this change in the planning environment and in response to this new challenge, MPOs in certain areas have fostered collaboration amongst multiple MPOs. In some cases this planning arrangement between planning organizations is an informal arrangement and is undertaken through a mutual agreement by MPOs to provide more effective regional planning in their areas. The following cases explore such multiple MPO collaborations.

1. Florida's Regional Approach to Transportation Planning

There are 26 metropolitan planning organizations/transportation management areas in the state of Florida. These organizations oversee and facilitate transportation planning for all or part of 37 of the state's total 67 counties (The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), 2010). The urbanized areas over which these MPOs conduct planning efforts have gradually changed over time and in some instances the planning areas either overlap or are highly responsive to the planning decisions made in adjacent urbanized areas. Acknowledging the need to coordinate planning efforts between affected MPOs, Florida Statutes (F.S.) have provided for the coordination of planning efforts between MPOs.Under F.S.§339.175 (2), "[m]more than one MPO may be designated within an existing metropolitan planning area only if the Governor and the existing MPO determine that the size and complexity of the existing metropolitan planning area makes the designation of more than one MPO for the area appropriate". In the event that more than one MPO is designated for an urbanized area, the Code of Federal Regulations (23 C.F.R.§450.314 (d)) requires that there be a written agreement between involved MPOs, the State, and any public transportation operators that outlines how the planning process will be coordinated between entities. This process will include coordination of data analysis and planning assumptions to the greatest degree possible. Regulation alternatively provides for MPOs to create a unified LRTP and TIP for the complete urbanized area (FDOT, 2007).

Further provisions under Florida Statutes $339.175(6) (j) (1), "... finds that the state's rapid growth in recent decades has caused many urbanized areas subject to MPO jurisdiction to become contiguous to each other. As a result, various transportation projects may cross from the jurisdiction of one MPO into the jurisdiction of another MPO. To more fully accomplish the purposes for which MPO's have been mandated, MPO's shall develop coordination mechanisms with one another to expand and improve transportation within the state. The appropriate method of coordination between MPO's shall vary depending upon the project involved and given local and regional needs. Consequently, it is appropriate to set forth a flexible methodology that can be used by MPO's to coordinate with other MPO's and appropriate political subdivisions as circumstances demand". Any MPO may join with any other MPO or individual political subdivision to "coordinate planning activities or to achieve any federal or state transportation planning or development goals or purposes consistent with federal or state law"(F.S.§339.175(6) (j) (2)). If MPOs find it appropriate to join with other MPOs they may do this by entering into an inter-local agreement. These provisions do not require any MPOs to merge, combine, or otherwise join together as a single MPO.

Table 1. Regional Alliances of MPOs and Contiguous MPOs in Florida

Regional Alliances Formation Date Member MPOs Counties Represented
Central Florida MPO Alliance 1997
  • MetroPlan Orlando
  • Space Coast TPO
  • Lake-Sumter MPO
  • Ocala/Marion TPO
  • Polk TPO
  • Volusia TPO
  • Orange County, Osceola County, and Seminal County
  • Brevard County
  • Lake County, and Sumter County
  • Marion County
  • Polk County
  • Volusia County and Flagler County (2 cities)
Southeast Florida Transportation Council 2005
  • Broward MPO
  • Palm Beach MPO
  • Miami-Dada Urbanized Area MPO
  • Broward County
  • Palm Beach County
  • Miami-Dada County
Treasure Coast Transportation Council 2006
  • Indian River County MPO
  • St. Lucie County TPO
  • Martin County MPO
  • Indian River County
  • St. Lucie County
  • Martin County
West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee 1992
  • Hernando County MPO
  • Hillsborough County MPO
  • Pasco County MPO
  • Pinellas County MPO
  • Polk County MPO
  • Sarasota/Manatee MPO
  • Citrus County TPO
  • Hernando County
  • Hillsborough County
  • Pasco County
  • Pinellas County
  • Polk County
  • Sarasota County and Manatee County
  • Citrus County
Contiguous MPOs Formation Date Member MPOs Counties Represented
Charlotte County-Punta Gorda MPO and Lee County MPO 2010
  • Charlotte County - Punta Gorda MPO
  • Lee County MPO
  • Charlotte County and part of DeSoto County
  • Lee County
Charlotte County-Punta Gorda MPO and Sarasota/Manatee MPO 2004
  • Charlotte County - Punta Gorda MPO
  • Sarasota/Mantee MPO
  • Charlotte County and part of DeSoto County
  • Sarasota County and Manatee County
Collier County MPO and Lee County MPO 2004
  • Collier County MPO
  • Lee County MPO
  • Collier County
  • Lee County
Martin MPO and St. Lucie County TPO 2006
  • Martin County MPO
  • St. Lucie County TPO
  • Martin County
  • St. Lucie County
Northwest Florida Regional Transportation Planning Organization 2004
  • Florida-Alabama TPO
  • Okaloosa-Walton TPO
  • Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, and part of Baldwin County (Alabama)
  • Okaloosa County and Walton County

The 2010 report, Review of MPO Long Range Transportation Plans and Regional MPO Planning Activities and Products, produced by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, identified 22 of the 26 MPOs in the state having "entered into formal arrangements to coordinate regional transportation planning activities with one or more neighboring MPOs". These coordinated regional arrangements involve both regional alliances of MPOs comprising three or more MPOs, as well as contiguous MPOs, which involves two MPOs working together. Table 1 provides a summary of regional alliances and contiguous MPOs in Florida, as well as the member MPOs/TPOs and counties represented by each.

Traditionally MPOs have been categorized as being either hosted or independent entities. However, research has shown that their organizational structure can actually be categorized, by degree, within these two basic groupings. Table 2 below provides the broader spectrum of the organizational structures that these entities actually take in the state of Florida (CUTR, 2011).

Table 2. Florida's MPO Organizational Structure

Organizational Structure Description
Hosted All-In-One Agency The agency does not differentiate between MPO functions, non-MPO transportation functions, and all other functions of the broader agency.
Dual Purpose MPO The host leverages MPO planning funds to maintain transportation planning staff that performs both MPO planning and host agency transportation planning functions.
Component MPO The MPO's functions are separated from most functions of the host, but remain a division of the umbrella agency.
Independent Leaning Independent MPO The MPO receives someservices from one of its member agencies under a severable contract.
Freestanding Independent MPO The MPO must meet all of its own operating needs.

Source: The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). (2011). A Snapshot of Florida MPOs. University of South Florida: Tampa

A majority of the state's MPOs (15) are categorized as hosted MPOs where the entity is hosted within another agency such as part of a regional planning commission, city or county planning department, or county community development department; and usually share the resources of these host agencies in terms of staff and other resources. In contrast, an independent MPO does not fall under the umbrella of a host agency, but rather is more free standing, meeting its own operational needs (CUTR, 2011). Florida's MPOs have recently shown a progressive trend of moving away from being hosted organizations to more independent organizations especially that of "leaning independent" agencies, where MPOs receive some services from one of its member agencies under a severable contract (CUTR, 2011).

In addition to the federal and state regulations which provide for and encourage coordinated planning efforts, the Florida Statutes created within the Florida Department of Transportation a Transportation Regional Incentive Program (TRIP). Created through Florida's 2005 Growth Management Reform Program aimed to improve regionally significant transportation facilities, this program makes state funds available to MPOs, counties or regional transportation authorities that form regional transportation areas. These funds can be utilized to help pay for "critically needed projects that benefit regional travel and commerce" (FDOT, 2011; National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2007). Serving as an incentive program to encourage groups of MPOs and other regional and local authorities to formally work together or formalize their relationships, TRIP funds are allocated to each of the seven Florida DOT districts based on a formula. Within each district, funds are allocated to projects in each district's regional transportation area on a 50:50 local/state match (National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2007).

Shows the funding flows to MPOs in Florida. Click image for a text outline.

a) The Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Alliance (CFMPOA)


The Central Florida Region is inclusive of eight counties (Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk, and Volusia) and 89 composite cities. The region covers roughly 8,700 square miles, and is home to over 3.9 million people which accounts for approximately 20% of the state's total population (Central Florida MPO Alliance, 2007).

There are currently six MPOs operating within the Central Florida region. Originally called the Orlando-Volusia MPO Alliance, the Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Alliance (CFMPOA) was first established in 1997 as a joint resolution between MetroPlan Orlando and the Volusia County MPO (now the Volusia TPO) as a means of coordinating transportation planning activities between the two urbanized areas. These two areas, at the time, shared transportation issues due to the high number of Volusia County residents commuting into and out of the Orlando metropolitan area for employment purposes. The goals established for this early MPO alliance focused on providing additional highway capacity between the two urban areas, establishing transit services between the two areas including bus and rail services, improving access to the region's major airports, establishing stronger links between the region's transportation and development goals, and actively identifying and pursuing funding sources to implement the transportation plan that the alliance supported (Central Florida MPO Alliance, 2007).

As a result of this early alliance, improvements along segments of the I-4 corridor connecting the two urbanized areas were achieved, including the replacement of the Saint John's River Bridge. Express bus services were established between the Orlando urban area and Volusia County, and preliminary ideas regarding the introduction of a commuter rail link to the region were discussed.The strength of the alliance was especially reflected in the major improvements achieved along I-4. The alliance brought much needed attention, support and funding from local businesses and elected officials from all levels of government. The Florida DOT, which serves as a non-voting member of the Alliance, was also very involved in the reconstruction of the Saint John's River Bridge and spearheaded the efforts to improve the structure as a design-build project which expedited the time in which the project was implemented (Central Florida MPO Alliance, 2007).Due to the success of this alliance, other counties within the region were encouraged to coordinate their planning efforts to address regional concerns and to provide solutions to the growing transportation issues within Central Florida. In 2001 the CFMPOA was established with participating members of MetroPlan Orlando, Volusia TPO, Lake-Sumter MPO and the Space Coast TPO, with Polk County TPO and Ocala/Marion County TPO joining in 2003 and 2004 respectively ( In 2005 the members of the CFMPOA, strengthened or formalized the group's standing by entering into an inter-local agreement (CUTR, 2010).

Structure and Governance

The CFMPOA includes a voting membership of the participating MPOs and non-voting membership of FDOT's District 1 and 5. It is a regional collaboration having no regulatory power. A review of the inter-local agreement of the CFMPOA revealed the following items to which the participating parties agreed to be legally bound:

The Alliance's voting policy board consists of 18 members; three members each appointed from the six participating organizations. Each organization may also choose to appoint up to three alternate representatives to also serve as policy board members. Members of the CFMPOA fill the offices of chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, clerk and deputy clerks. All technical and administrative support for the CFMPOA is provided by the existing staff of the six member organizations. However, the Alliance's website and all meeting and other public records are maintained at the MetroPlan Orlando offices. The inter-local agreement between members may be amended or modified through a written agreement that has been signed by all member parties.

Each member MPO is responsible for generating a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for their area of responsibility with the appropriate prioritized project lists. The needs and projects arising from these planning documents give both a local and regional sense of area-wide transportation concerns. These plans are then consolidated into a LRTP produced by the CFMPOA for the Central Florida region. This plan places greater emphasis on the projects of regional significance and ensures that regional projects are coordinated and prioritized by the member MPOs. The CFMPOA works closely with the Florida Department of Transportation in developing project lists. The Florida DOT is decentralized, in accordance with legislative mandates, into seven districts. The majority of counties within the CFMPOA fall within FDOT District 5 with the exception of Polk County which falls in FDOT District 1. FDOT District 5 maintains the regional transportation model for the area which is used to evaluate the Central Florida Region's regional growth, identifies transportation corridors in need of improvement, and also assists in prioritizing transportation projects within the area. Although Polk County is not within FDOT District 5, the model maintained by FDOT District 5 for the Central Florida region, includes travel data for this county and other areas outside the District that influence the region's travel.

Even though it is the practice in all states for MPOs to work with their respective Departments of Transportation in approving all TIP projects, Miller (2011) has identified a more specific practice for shared decision making in the state of Florida. After the member MPOs, through the CFMPOA, and local governments provide the FDOT districts with a list of prioritized transportation projects, the districts try to incorporate the project lists into their Work Program to the "maximum extent feasible". If the district fails to include an approved TIP project that has also appeared on their prior Work Program listing, they are required to provide in writing the rationale for not including such projects to the MPOs or local governments (Miller, 2011). There appears to be a high level of communication fostered between the state, MPOs and local governments.


The member MPO/TPO organizations of the CFMPOA each maintain control of their respective funding and programming responsibilities. However, opportunities that allow cooperative ventures are fostered such as the Transportation Regional Incentive Program (TRIP) or other discretionary programs that are established at the federal or state level. This working relationship between MPOs has also provided the opportunity for local projects to be programmed and funded in a manner that addresses both local needs but which also has implications to the regional network. Projects that cross jurisdictions or are of regional interest are placed high on the respective MPO's TIP lists that are sent to the FDOT for inclusion in their Work Program so that the chance of the composite parts of the regional projects being funded either in the same programming period or within very close programming periods are increased.

The development of the Central Florida Commuter Rail project - SunRail - further provides an example of the cooperation and collaboration climate that has been fostered in the region. SunRail is a commuter rail project set at an estimated cost of $615 million. The project introduces 61-miles of track in the Central Florida Region running from the community of Deland in Volusia County, through Orange and Seminole County and the city of Orlando, to the community of Poinciana in Osceola County. Set to operate on a pre-existing rail line that was purchased by the state from CSX Transportation, SunRail will provide a passenger rail option for this area that would provide some relief to the highway system. As a result of this project, CSX Transportation will eventually move the majority of their freight hauls over to one of their alternative freight lines, thus reducing the freight traffic operating along this corridor and in the city of Orlando. The project funding plan provides for 50% funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) "New Starts" Grant Program, 25% from the Florida DOT, and 25% provided by the local partners including the counties of Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola, and the city of Orlando. The project will be done in two phases, the first of which will cover 31 miles and build twelve rail stations, and the second that will provide 5 additional stations over the remaining 30 miles of service tracks ( Under the service agreement of SunRail, the state will pay the operating and maintenance costs for the first seven years of operation after which the local governments will assume responsibility for that funding commitment. The local government officials in the four counties and the city or Orlando have already agreed to and approved inter-local funding, governance and operation agreements.


The MPOs under the CFMPOA have decided not to merge their operation and organizations into a single MPO because of the diverse and varied local interests that they serve in addition to their regional responsibilities. Eliminating member MPOs which are more familiar with local conditions, to form a single MPO responsible for a larger more diverse area might preclude the voice of the local communities from being heard. Other MPO groups or alliances also do not support merger or consolidation because of the issues associated with the size and complexity of the planning area. They are however, more supportive of maintaining their respective identities but committing to more regional cooperation and coordination in their planning efforts (FTC, 2003). A number of regional transportation products have been developed as a result the existence of multiple regional MPO alliances in Florida such as the CFMPOA. These products include regional long range transportation plans, regional goals and objectives, regional project priority lists, multimodal transportation network maps, congestion management systems, freight plans, public involvement programs, transit development plans, conflict resolution processes, integrated ITS coordination plans, and regional transportation models (CUTR, 2010). The MPO Alliance has also been successful in its endeavors as a result of the support and assistance it receives from the Florida DOT.These regional alliances make the work of the state DOT easier.

The cooperation and collaboration that is evident by the regional MPO alliances across the state of Florida has been directly influenced and encouraged by other collaborative efforts undertaken by various organizations. The Central Florida Region, in particular, has worked to foster a strong regional identity and build a culture and mentality of regionalism and cooperation. A major contributor to this regional effort has been achieved by the establishment of Created in 2001, was formed by various public and private organizations to help Central Florida define itself as a region.This organization is specifically focused on building a new regional mentality, strengthening and creating regional coalitions, maximizing the region's opportunities, addressing area-wide challenges, and promoting a holistic approach to development, in all its aspects, in an effort to establish the region among national and global marketplaces. By getting businesses, governments, organizations, community leaders and citizens involved in this initiative hopes to further its core values of inclusion, collaborative partnership building, regional thinking, exploration and discovery of new ways of thinking about the region's future, and consensus building (

This group in addition to other organizations, has spearheaded, participated in and facilitated a number of initiatives for Central Florida over its tenure. For example, some of these collaborative efforts have resulted in the development of the Central Florida Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) produced by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and multiple other Regional Economic Development Organizations (EDOs), creation of a regional environmental coalition, development of a school board coalition which engages in strategic planning for the region's school districts, creation of the Regional Coalition on Homelessness, and in an effort to support the success of the CFMPOA , the Central Florida Partnership formed a Transportation Corridors Task Force which is a business-led initiative to advocate current and future regional multi-modal transportation priorities (

The region has also developed a number of reports and studies that serve as a roadmap for government authorities, businesses, community leaders and citizens to follow in building the area. These reports include the Regional Comprehensive Plan, "How Shall We Grow?" A Shared Vision for Central Florida (2007), Strategies for Sustainable Growth: The Transportation/Land Use Integration (2003), PennDesign Central Florida: Our Region in 2050 (2005) which produced a regional model that is used in developing and modeling alternative development scenarios. The two reports entitled, The Ties That Bind - Central Florida Social Capital Survey(2005) and the ULI Florida Initiative on Regional Cooperation Building Florida's Future: State Strategies for Regional Cooperation (2005) provide important information on how the citizens of Central Florida define community and interact with one another, This culture of collaboration across development areas including economic development, education, environmental issues, smart growth, and regional resource management has influenced the relationships and communication fostered in the arena of transportation and infrastructure planning for Central Florida.

b) West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC)


Originally formed as a mandate by the Florida Governor and organized by the State Legislature in 1992, the West Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC) was required to coordinate transportation demand modeling and long-range transportation planning for the three counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco through their respective MPOs, in conjunction with the Florida DOT and the Hernando County MPO. This formal regional approach to transportation planning was prompted by the 1990 designation of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties as a Transportation Management Area (TMA) by the USDOT. By the year 2000, the Florida Legislature expanded the coordination effort to include Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties (Florida Transportation Commission (FTC), 2003). Today, the current CCC is established and governed by an inter-local agreement initially created in 2004 between the six member MPOs including the Hernando County MPO, Hillsborough County MPO, Pasco County MPO, Pinellas County MPO, Polk County TPO, and Sarasota/Manatee MPO, and through a 2010 amendment now includes its seventh participating member, the Citrus County TPO (CUTR, 2010; Inter-local Agreement of the CCC, 2010). Just like the other regional MPO alliances or groups found in Florida, including the CFMPOA, the CCC encourages regional cooperation among its member MPOs/TPOs and other regional organizations and state authorities in addressing and prioritizing the transportation needs of the area.

Structure and Governance

The West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC) is comprised of representatives from each of the seven memberMPOs in the region which include the Hernando County MPO, Hillsborough County MPO, Pasco County MPO, Pinellas County MPO, Polk County TPO, Sarasota/Manatee MPO, and the Citrus County TPO. These seven MPOs represent the interests of eight counties located on Florida's western coast (Figure 5).

This map shows the counties in the West Central Florida MPO. They include Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus.

Source: West Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Chairs Coordinating Committee.

Figure 5 : Counties included in the West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee

In addition to these seven participating voting members of the CCC, other non-voting participants on the CCC Board include representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation Districts 1 and 7, the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, and the Central Florida, Southwest Florida, Withlacoochee, and Tampa Bay Regional Planning Councils (CUTR, 2010; Inter-local Agreement of the CCC, 2010). The CCC enters into separate agreements that define the roles and responsibilities of these non-voting entities to the CCC (Inter-local Agreement of the CCC, 2010). The purpose of the CCC's inter-local agreement is to "provide an opportunity for coordination and communication" among the CCC members and as such, the powers and duties of the CCC are to "coordinate transportation projects deemed to be regionally significant by the Committee, review the impact of regionally significant land use decisions on the region, review all proposed regionally significant transportation improvement programs which affect more than one of the MPOs represented on the Committee, and institute a conflict resolution process to address any conflict that may arise in the planning and programming of such regionally significant projects" (Inter-local Agreement of the CCC, 2010). The FDOT works closely with the CCC through its district offices to provide support to the region's transportation modeling and prioritization of the regional TRIP project list.

The CCC Board meets quarterly to develop regional solutions to the transportation problems faced by the member counties and to also provide a platform for open dialogue between members in an effort to facilitate cooperative learning. The administrative functions and responsibilities for carrying out the regional work program and coordinating process for the CCC is provided by the Directors and Managers of the CCC members. All costs and expenses related to the operation of the CCC are borne by the member organizations in an equitable manner based on the relative size of its members as determined by their budget and population size. The CCC is not allowed to obtain or retain funds from any source, nor is it to receive or disburse any funds (Inter-local Agreement of the CCC, 2010). The CCC facilitates a regional public involvement process which includes a hosted website (, a joint citizen advisory committee (JCAC) composed of 18 eligible citizens who are also members of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the CCC's member MPOs/TPOs, and a regional public involvement plan. Coordination is also encouraged between this transportation planning group and the West Florida Air Quality Coordination Committee, and FDOT's Tampa Bay Regional Goods Movement Study.


The funding of transportation projects within the CCC area comes from a variety of sources including federal, state and local sources. Just like the MPOs in the CFMPOA, the MPOs of the also maintain control of their respective funding and programming responsibilities. Projects are however coordinated across countries to address both local and regional transportation needs. The MPOs working in conjunction with the FDOT District 1 and 7 prioritize projects of regional significance and assist in developing a prioritized list of projects that qualify for TRIP funding. A major component of the Regional Transportation Strategy for the West Central Florida region is to propose strategies that will accomplish regional mobility and growth objectives. One such core component of the implementation strategy is the development of a passenger rail transit system that would link the major economic activity centers in West Central Florida as well as link Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas. This regional rail strategy for the area has involved coordination between federal, state and local planning and funding strategies.


Planning and technical achievements of the CCC since its creation in clued the production and adoption of a Regional Long Range Transportation Plan (RLRTP) which addresses highway, transit and multi-use trails for West Central Florida through 2035, creation of a regional transit action plan, needs assessment and economic impact study, development and refinement of a regional travel model in collaboration with FDOT, development of a regional congestion management system, participation in a regional visioning process, production of an annual regional TRIP project priority list as well as an annual regional multi-use trail priority project list, and development of a regional system for data sharing and mapping (CUTR, 2010). The RLRTP was produced using a top-down approach where the CCC's member MPOs agreed on the regional multi-modal transportation network that the region wanted to develop, identified the needs on the regional network, identified viable strategies for network improvement, developed regional goals, objectives and measures of effectiveness, identified the sources of available revenue that could be used in the regional network and developed a prioritized list of financially constrained projects (CUTR, 2010).

In keeping with true regionalism in Central Florida, both the CCC and the CFMPOA have participated in an annual joint coordination meeting (CUTR, 2010). These two MPO groups have acknowledged the growing relationship that the two areas have and their respective roles in defining the greater Central Florida region. As such, the CCC and the CFMPOA have coordinated transportation planning at the regional level between their two areas of responsibility. In 2010, PennDesign produced a report, Connecting for Global Competitiveness: Florida's Super Region, which looked at the growth potential of Central Florida or the combined area of the Central Florida Region and the West Central Florida area which linked the urbanized Tampa area to Central Florida Region (Figure 6). The proposed Super Region had approximately 7.2 million residents and 4.1 million jobs as of 2008.

Projections by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council estimated that these numbers would grow to approximately 14.4 and 6.2 million respectively by 2050. The report looks at how the Tampa and Orlando regions can work together to leverage their shared regional resources by linking their shared transportation infrastructure, freight routes, and job centers to create a place for Central Florida as a competitive economy both nationally and globally. The region as a whole has great transportation potential with 14 airports, including two major international commercial airports, and access to four seaports. The region also benefits from educational opportunities with more than 90 colleges and universities at its disposal and a shared regional economy with a high volume of tourism in the Tampa and Orlando areas. The envisioned future transportation network for this Super Region includes a well-connected High Speed Rail (HSR) system for the region and the state.

Figure 6 is a map of Florida Super Region which connects the greater Central Florida area including the areas under the Central Florida MPO Alliance and West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordination Committee.

Source: PennDesign. (2010).

Figure 6: The Florida Super Region which connects the greater Central Florida area including the areas under the Central Florida MPO Alliance and West Central Florida MPO Chairs Coordination Committee

2. The Arizona Sun Corridor


The Arizona Sun Corridor is one of the ten nationally defined megaregions in the United States. The region covers parts of six counties including Yavapai County, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Pima County, Santa Cruz County and Cochise County however; it is anchored by the greater Phoenix and greater Tucson metropolitan areas which encompass the three core counties of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima (Figure 7) (Morrison Institute of Public Policy, 2008; AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). The 2005 population level of the three core counties in the Sun Corridor stood at roughly 5 million persons and is projected to reach over 11 million by 2050, reflecting a 132% increase. (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). Employment for the area is also expected to experience a 146% increase from 2005-2050 with levels rising from approximately 2 million to 5.4 million. The Sun Corridor accommodates more than 80 percent of the state's population.

This image is a state of Arizona map with the Sun Corridor overlaid. The Arizona Sun Corridor Megaregion has composite counties and major cities. The counties include Pima, Maricopa, Yavapai and the cities include Phoenix and Tucson. A Red Line shows the path of the corridor.

Source: Morrison Institute of Public Policy. (2010)

Figure 7: The Arizona Sun Corridor Megaregion with its composite counties and major cities


In response to the projected growth within the region and the need to improve the connections of the cities within the corridor to each other, the rest of the state, and to neighboring states which includes an international border connection to Mexico, the Arizona Sun Corridor has identified the great need to coordinate regional planning decisions to create "comprehensive and interconnected economic, social, environmental, land use, and multi-modal transportation systems" that will foster continued economic growth in the region and maintain a high quality of life for its citizens (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). In 2009 a major step was taken by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Pima Association of Governments, (PAG), and the Central Arizona Association of Governments (CAAG) as they signed a joint planning agreement to coordinate their planning efforts for the region and to supportively work together to advance the region, creating a place that allows the Sun Corridor to make a mark in the global economy.

The established Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) for the Sun Corridor is charged with identifying mutual goals for the area, providing guidance on technical issues and joint planning activities, and enhancing communication and cooperation among the policymakers in the three regions and beyond (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). Acknowledging the interdependences that exist between the communities in the region, the MAG, PAG and CAAG have worked together or participated in joint planning studies prior to the 2009 agreement. However, the formal joint agreement solidifies the Sun Corridor as a megaregion by formally allowing all jurisdictions to work together for the advancement of the Corridor. This action also makes concrete the commitment that authorities have made to promote these efforts.

Many other organizations have also been involved in conducting studies or developing frameworks and strategies that address the needs of the Sun Corridor as it moves forward in a more integrated manner, as well as identifying the opportunities that need to be comprehensively addressed. These works have addressed a wide range of topics including strategies for the economic development of the area, the Sun Corridor's place in the national and global economy, an inventory of what the citizens of the region envision for themselves, the major hurdles that need to be addressed in achieving this vision, and the infrastructure needs of the region to sustain growth and maintain a desirable quality of life for its citizens. In addition to the MAG, PAG, and CAAG's commitment to advancing the megaregion vision, other organizations involved include other state and regional agencies like the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Department of Commerce, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and the Greater Yuma Port Authority; non-profit organizations, academic institutes and the business community (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). The study undertaken by AECOM Global Cities Institution also looks to help craft an identity for the region while highlighting the challenges and opportunities that the Sun Corridor faces.

The State has been especially vocal and active in the advancement of the Sun Corridor especially in response to the transportation infrastructure needs of the region. The Arizona State Transportation Board has undertaken a statewide collaborative process called "Building a Quality Arizona" which provides the transportation needs of the state, identifies the resources or options that are available to address those needs and also provides the statewide 2050 vision for its transportation system (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). This transportation planning effort is the first undertaken by the state that addresses long-term transportation needs, and all modes of transportation across city, county and state systems. In addition, it integrates principles of Smart Growth, environmental obligations, and responsible economic growth while encouraging tribal participation. Some of the major policy implications that have resulted from this Statewide Transportation Planning Framework Program prepared by the Arizona Department of Transportation and accepted by the State Transportation Board in 2010, include an increased need for the state to plan for a more diverse transportation system, work more with local governments and regional agencies to improve location efficiency, adopt policies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, plan for the emerging structure of the megaregion and address the needs related to transportation funding. The State through the Arizona Department of Transportation is also pursuing a Border Master Plan which will provide a comprehensive transportation infrastructure development program on both sides of the US-Mexico border to facilitate mobility and international trade along the corridor, and have major implications on the region's economic development (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010).

As identified in the AECOM Global Cities Institute report Sun Corridor, Future Corridor (2010), the development of plans and strategies on the scale of the megaregion is more challenging due to the large number and multiple levels of jurisdictions involved. However, it can be achieved through increased collaboration and coordination of efforts. Within the Sun Corridor, regional stakeholders have begun to form partnerships to progress common interests such as "Arizona Sun Corridor: Open for Business" - a partnership between the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunity, Inc. (TREO) - which is focused on advancing the goal of attracting high wage jobs and investments to the region; and the Joint Planning Advisory Council formed between MAG, PAG and CAAG which is focused on coordinating planning efforts in the Sun Corridor. Other voluntary cooperation among stakeholders including businesses, governments and regional citizens could also support and shape the manner in which the Sun Corridor megaregion develops (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). Communities in the United States value their independence and might not support the introduction of a new structure that adds an additional level of government or restricts their freedom to develop as they envision. Since the Arizona Sun Corridor falls completely within one state, it benefits from the fact that many of the policies and programs set or developed in the areas of water, energy and transportation come from the state authority (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). Thus developing and implementing policies that will support economic growth and regional development for the Sun Corridor can be done to some degree at the state level.

In addition to addressing the possible governance of the Sun Corridor and the importance of fostering a strong sense of identity, another major factor that is necessary to support coordinated planning is the need for regular and consistent data collection and reporting to be done at the component and megaregion scale. Having consistent, reliable and readily available data is critical to facilitating good planning. Having consistent data at the component city or community level allows data to be aggregated up to the level of the megaregion more easily, allows the region to track its performance as a whole, reduces redundancies and waste of resources, and provides consistent data as an input to regional model building. Local or smaller composite communities can also more readably assess their place, role and contributions to the region at large and regional planners can identify and address issues of inter-regional inequality (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010).

Transportation Issues

The Arizona Sun Corridor has identified three interrelated elements or themes that are its prime focus in advancing the region. These elements include diversifying the economic engines of the area, supporting the region's future sustainability and fostering a new and rising megaregion organization. The strength and performance of each of these elements are seen as being highly linked to each other and the success in one area will directly support the others. To enable the megaregion to capture a large portion of the opportunities that arise at the regional and global level and to advance the three elements identified, the Sun Corridor will have to promote the development and policy support of four enabling conditions which include education and training, trade and investment, innovation, and infrastructure including transportation, energy, water and wastewater infrastructure (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). These factors will influence the connectivity and the capacity of the region to support new development and also serve to create an environment that is attractive to and provides the necessary conditions that are usually considered in making effective investment decisions. By approaching planning for the Sun Corridor in a holistic manner, the region is able to leverage its resources in the best manner possible to help achieve its regional goals and create an economically competitive advantage for the region, both in the national realm as well as in the global marketplace.

It is envisioned that the Sun Corridor has the potential to support an inland port making it a major transportation, warehousing and logistics hub. Its location at the crossroads of two major trade corridors - the east-west corridor that links the Midwest and Southern United States to the major ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and by extension, access to the major Asia-Pacific economies; and the north-south CANAMEX trade corridor (Figure 8), which links the western United States to both western mainland Mexico to the south and western Canadian markets to the north, helps to fuel this vision (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010). Development of an inland port provides for more efficient supply chain management. The investment serves as an attraction to ancillary economic activity, and improves the attractiveness of the region when being considered for business investment decisions.

Figure 8 is a map of the CANAMEX Corridor. It includes the states of Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and Arizona. I-15, 10 and 19 and SR 93 and U.S. 40 are shown in Red.

Source: Morrison Institute of Public Policy. (2010)

Figure 8: The CANAMEX Corridor and Its Relation to the Sun Corridor

Other factors which make the Sun Corridor an attractive choice to develop an inland port include the existing Class I railways that already operate in the region, the congestion experienced in the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, the potential future growth of the Mexican economy, which will generate trade and investment opportunities for the region, and the proposed expansion of some Mexican ports that might be connected to the United States through the Sun Corridor. However, this port concept is also challenged by a number of factors that include the current underutilized inland port capacity experienced in nearby Texas, and the implications of the Panama Canal expansion which might divert some traffic away from the ports on the west coast to ports in the Gulf of Mexico or other east coast ports. These decisions will affect not only the region's firms ability to supply markets outside the Sun Corridor megaregion, but it will also enable local firms to participate in regional and global supply chains (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010).

As with many of the megaregions within the United States, investment decisions regarding improvements to and expansions of the regions' infrastructure, especially its transportation infrastructure, will be critical. However, the challenges that the Sun Corridor faces in promoting investment decisions is closely related to the region's ability to determine if all investment decisions are equal, and if not, the authorities must identify how projects or investments should be prioritized and implemented to generate the greatest returns and which best push the progression of the Sun Corridor as a megaregion. Another major challenge which faces all regions including the Arizona Sun Corridor is the large funding gap that exists between the funds necessary to upgrade or construct the new infrastructure and the funds that are actually available.

It is recommended by the AECOM Global Cities Institute (2010) that the Sun Corridor governments undertake a programmatic approach to accessing the region's proposed infrastructure investments. By separating infrastructure investment into various asset classes (bridges, roads, public transit, freight infrastructure, etc.) and assessing the implications of each infrastructure investment as it relates to economic performance, environmental implications, air quality and land use impacts (as was utilized in the developing the other transportation framework studies) it might be possible to approach investment decision making in a manner that meets the overall economic and sustainability objectives of the Corridor and its communities. Such a framework approach to infrastructure investments should also consider the lifecycle operating costs of the new infrastructure to avoid building infrastructure that becomes a financial burden to the public sector or possibly becomes "stranded assets" where it is difficult to earn an economic return on an investment as the asset becomes obsolete due to technological or policy changes in advance of complete depreciation (AECOM Global Cities Institute, 2010).

The state and local authorities should continue to work together to close the funding gap for infrastructure investments. The role of the Public/Private Partnership (PPP) in addressing the funding gap should also be explored in moving the infrastructure needs of the region forward. The state of Arizona already has in place enabling legislation for PPPs. The PPPs, as suggested by AECOM, should take a Design-Build-Finance-Maintain form instead of Design-Build-Finance. The key transportation projects that would lay the foundation for transportation in the megaregion include:

B. Multi-State MPOs

Multi-state MPOs are charged with the increased challenge of planning for a region or metropolitan area that falls under the jurisdiction of two or more states. The need to coordinate planning activities, and investment and funding decisions across political boundaries at the state level is a reality that has to be addressed if planning for a megaregion. The structure and organizational arrangement found in multi-state MPOs might present a feasible starting point for proposing an organizational structure that could be adapted to plan for the megaregion.

The challenges associated with inter-governmental coordination between jurisdictions (especially at the state level) have been a matter of interest for some time now. The work of Grant (1955), The Government of Interstate Metropolitan Areas, identified the problems associated with planning for metropolitan areas which cross state boundaries and also described the efforts undertaken by authorities at that time to coordinate interstate metropolitan government.

Metropolitan or urbanized areas that cross state lines can be affected by "bad neighbor policy" from suburban agents located across the state line from the central cities. In these instances the policies of those satellite cities surrounding the urbanized area may not support the central area and are emphasized by the fact that the state line provides a "higher and stronger wall of protection" in comparison to other boundaries such as city or county lines (Grant, 1955). Historically, this has been evident in programs associated with disease control, smoke abatement or the control of stream pollution. Interstate metropolitan problems may not result from deliberate polices that are in conflict with each other but might simply arise from the "absence of any area-wide authority" with adequate jurisdiction, which is highly evident in civil defense programs and in the field of public utility regulations (Grant, 1955). The lack of an area-wide authority can, in some cases, also result in the problem of waste due to the unnecessary duplication of services by local authorizes from each state.

Grant (1955) further identified a number of devices or efforts that have been utilized by authorities to foster coordination between interstate metropolitan governments. These devices include the use of informal cooperation, extraterritorial jurisdiction, local contractual agreements, interstate compacts, and interstate regional planning. His writing at the time pre-dated the federal move to formalize and encourage coordinated transportation planning through the 1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act; however, it does reflect the general concern shared by Grant and other professionals for the need to deal with how diverse interstate and intrastate metropolitan areas could better address their regional problems. In summary, Grant suggests that voluntary cooperative measures that have been utilized in solving interstate metropolitan problems have not been truly effective in tackling substantial problems. In contrast he sees that federal intervention (either through direct federal involvement by assuming the responsibly for those interstate metropolitan functions for which no adequate local authority exists; or indirectly through federal stimulation of state and local governments to create new interstate instruments of integrated government for the area) might be the most effective means of facilitating this (Grant, 1955).

More than five decades later, research is still geared toward addressing the problems associated with interstate government and the approaches and institutional arrangements associated with promoting more effective coordination between or among authorities. Turnbull (2006) in her work addresses these concerns specifically for the multi-state metropolitan planning organizations and their respective approaches to effectively deliver transportation related solutions to their constituents.

There were 381 designated metropolitan planning organizations in the United States as of 2009 (U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA), 2009). Through a thorough identification process Turnbull (2006) identified 40 multi-state MPOs across the United States. This process as she noted, was somewhat difficult since new MPOs were designated and existing MPO areas expanded into adjoining states following each update to the national census. In addition to this, many MPO information sources do not explicitly state the multi-state nature of MPOs. This section will provide a comprehensive review of four select multi-state MPOs that are charged with planning for a metropolitan area that crosses state lines. These cases will stress the organizational structure of each multi-state MPO and their approaches to foster greater coordination and cooperation.

1. Augusta-Richmond County Planning Commission


The Augusta-Richmond County Planning Commission (ARCPC) is the designated MPO for the Augusta Regional Transportation Study (ARTS) which covers the urbanized areas of Augusta, Georgia and Aiken, South Carolina. Designated in 1965, the regional MPO was created from a bi-state memorandum of understanding and works closely with both the Georgia Department of Transportation and South Carolina Department of Transportation in addressing the transportation needs of the area. The state of Georgia serves as the lead state in this bi-state MPO. The planning area under ARTS includes Richmond County and part of Columbia County, Georgia, and Fort Gordon Military Base. The South Carolina planning area includes parts of both Aiken County and Edgefield County. Due to the growth experienced in these urbanized areas, the planning boundaries for this MPO have periodically changed following the completion of the 1980, 1990 and 2000 census.

Structure and Governance

ARTS is made up of a three-committee organizational structure to ensure stakeholder involvement in the planning process. These committees include:

The ARTS regional MPO is responsible for producing the area's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) which covers a twenty-year period, its Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), as well as its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Planning for an urbanized area that is subject to different practices and requirements set by the governing state can pose various challenges to the multi-state MPO. The Augusta Regional Transportation Study MPO for example, is faced with different program periods covered for each member state in the TIP. As per the Augusta Regional Transportation Study TIP for the financial year 2012-2015, the Georgia portion of the study area covers a four-year period while the South Carolina study area covers a six-year period. Another major difference in developing the regional TIP arises from the South Carolina Act 114 of 2007. Under this Act an MPO must follow legislative guidelines in prioritizing transportation projects based on a statewide framework for evaluating road widening, intersection improvements and new facilities. This project prioritization requirement affects projects located in South Carolina. This legislative requirement does not affect the prioritization process for projects in Georgia.

2. Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments


The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments (OKI) is a council of local governments, business organizations and community groups that are committed to developing collaborative strategies to improve the economic vitality and quality of life of the region ( The OKI serves as the designated MPO for the eight-county region which encompasses counties in southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southern Indiana. These counties include Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana (Figure 9). Created in 1964, the OKI has fostered partnerships and alliances with federal, state, and local authorities, businesses and civic groups, as well as with the citizens of the region.

The transportation system within the region has a decent mix of modes including an extensive system of highways, state roads and local streets, three transit operators operating fixed route services and three additional providers serving demand responsive services, the major Cincinnati-North Kentucky International Airport, 10 public and two privately owned airports, a ferry service, a limited AMTRAK service and extensive pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The 2040 projected population growth estimates the region's population at 2.4 million and employment levels at 1.2 million

Figure 9 shows a map of counties in the OKI Council of Governments. It includes the counties of Butler, Boone, Dearborn, and Hamilton, Kenton, Campbell, Clermont and Warren. The highway system is shown in Red.


Figure 9: Counties included in the OKI Council of Governments

Governance and Structure

The OKI Council of Governments was designated the MPO for the metropolitan area in 1964 and was established through an intergovernmental agreement based on sections of the Ohio Revised Code, the Kentucky Revised Code and the Indiana Statutes. The major purposes of the OKI Regional Council of Governments is to provide coordinated planning services to the appropriate federal, state and local governments, their political subdivisions, agencies, departments, special districts and private agencies that are connected with the development of a comprehensive regional transportation and development plan for the region.

The OKI is governed by its Board of Trustees which is made up of elected officials and appointed representatives from municipal governments, townships, and counties within the region, representatives from planning commissions, chambers of commerce, public transit authorities, state DOTs and environmental organizations. This Board of Trustees also serves as the MPO's Policy Board with more than 100 members, which is the largest MPO policy board in the country (Turnbull, 2006). The offices within the Board include a President, a First Vice-President, a Second Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. This Board meets on a quarterly basis. The MPO's By-Laws also establish an Executive Committee which has the power to act on behalf of the full Board of Trustees. The Executive Committee includes the President, First and Second Vice President and Treasurer from the Board of Trustees, in addition to its general members. This committee meets monthly unless waived by the President or either Vice President. The OKI also has a Budget Committee consisting of one elected public official from the governing board of each of the member counties. The Board of Trustees or executive Committee has the authority to create additional committees as they deem appropriate, necessary, and convenient.

The Executive Committee has established an Intermodal Coordinating Committee (ICC), which provides technical advice on transportation issues related to both long-range and short-range transportation planning including the TIP and the regional transportation plan ( The ICC is comprised of approximately 72 members representing federal, state and local transportation agencies, county planning commissions and other major planning organizations, businesses, civic, environmental and utility groups from both the public and private sectors. A Prioritization Subcommittee has also been created with representatives from the Board of Trustees and the entire ICC. This subcommittee meets on an as needed basis and deals with all aspects of the preparation, maintenance, and amendment of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). It also ensures that the principles of Transportation System Management are applied in the process of short range planning and especially in developing the list of projects included in the TIP. As such, emphasis is placed on projects that include more replacement elements than expansion of facilities and thus these types of projects receive higher prioritization points. Project prioritization is guided by an established OKI Prioritization Process. This document sets out the overall process and details the individual criteria used in evaluating projects. Distinct criteria have been set for evaluating highway projects, transit projects, and non-highway freight projects including rail and water port projects. There also exists an Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisory Committee which ensures all plans, programs and projects consider this element.


The annual budget for the OKI is prepared and proposed by the Budget Committee and is presented to the Executive Committee for review and adoption. Member counties are also responsible for paying annual dues to support the work of the MPO. Dues are determined on a per capita basis and are based on the population of the respective member counties, or on any other equitable basis that might be determined by the Budget Committee. The OKI may contract for the payment of local funds and other support, or accept funds, grants, gifts or services from other federal, state, or local governments, agencies, departments, special districts, and any other public, private or civic sources to provide such operational funds and support.

The OKI has great influence of project funding decisions since it develops the regional TIP.The region's TIP is partially funded by OKI sub-allocated federal funds. Ohio's Department of Transportation allocates Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ), and Transportation Enhancement funds to OKI for the fiscal year covered by the TIP. Unlike the Ohio DOT, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet only sub-allocates SNK (STP for Northern Kentucky) federal funds. CMAQ and Transportation Enhancement funding is not passed to the MPO. The Indiana DOT sub-allocates STP, CMAQ and Highway Safety Improvement Program federal funding to the MPO's in Indiana and will begin to sub-allocate Transportation Enhancement federal funds to MPOs in 2012. The OKI COG working with the respective state DOTs has final authority over all federal funds spent on transportation in the region and has approved approximately $40 million in funding for projects in the region on an annual basis (


The OKI Regional Council of Governments has been working to address the regional transportation and development issues of the tri-state region for more than four decades. Over this time strong relationships have been created and fostered by the three member states and numerous composite communities. This history of shared struggles by the region to solve its major transportation problems has created the corporative and collaborative planning that is seen today. The responsibilities of the OKI COG have also developed far beyond addressing regional transportation issues. The organization has developed a Fiscal Impact Analysis Model that is utilized by local governments in analyzing the impact of alternative land use scenarios; a Water Quality Planning Program, and a Clean Air Program. The region also maintains a regional transportation demand model which is maintained by the OKI.

3. The Western High Speed Rail Alliance


The United States has a commitment to develop a national high-speed rail (HSR) network across the country. To date, the US DOT has designated 10 HSR corridors that will be developed (Figure 10) in an effort to expand the transportation options available to citizens at the national level. Development of this national level infrastructure will greatly influence the transportation connectivity within regions and between regions of the US.

Seeing that the investment in these ten initial HSR corridors is just a preliminary step in developing a national HSR network, an alliance was created advocating the development or expansion of future HSR lines in the western states of the US. The Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA) was formed in 2009 to support the creation of a high speed rail system in the Western United States in cities not yet included in the national plan. The Alliance's primary purpose is to determine the viability of developing and promoting a high speed rail (HSR) network which provides a high speed rail connection throughout the Rocky Mountain region with possible connections to the Pacific Coast and other regions within the United States (

Figure 10 is a map of the U.S. with the Western High Speed Rail Alliance. It includes major rail connections in Reno, Salt Lake City, L.A., Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Figure 10: The future HSR connections proposed by the WHSRA

Structure and Governance

The WHSRA was founded by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and transit agency, from the major transportation hubs in four states including Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The organizations involved in the WHSRA include the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Maricopa Association of Governments, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada and the Utah Transit Authority. These planning organizations or authorities are committed to using their expertise and resources in determining desirable high speed intercity rail routes and integrating these routes into their respective urban transit plans. The significant growth projected for this region has been a major motivating factor behind the Alliance's vision. The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2030 the state of Nevada will add 2.3 million persons; Arizona, home of the Sun Corridor will add approximately 5.6 million; and Colorado and Utah's populations will grow by 1.5 million and 1.25 million respectively.

The member organizations share a common vision of future rail infrastructure connecting the major urban areas within the alliance states as well as linking these cities to other regions. Figure 10 illustrates the proposed HSR links that the WHSRA has identified for the western states. This network will provide passenger and freight customers with an efficient and cost-effective rail operation that might enhance the region's economic growth by improving goods and labor mobility; reducing delay, and air, rail and highway congestion; and improving access to regional and global markets. The members of the Alliance have agreed to work together to acquire the necessary funding to conduct studies concerning high speed rail options, to develop plans for HSR infrastructure, and to construct HSR facilities throughout the Rocky Mountain region as they are deemed viable. The initial studies that the Alliance is undertaking are geared to determine the capital costs and economic viability of introducing HSR to the area. These studies are proactive actions to equip the Alliance with sufficient information as they advocate for improved access to the Western states. The studies of these future corridors will lay the groundwork for additional development (

The initial studies that the Alliance plan to undertake will provide a framework for regional HSR that crosses multiple states and involves multiple jurisdictions. Ultimately, the Alliance would like to secure the funding to conduct a multi-state plan to include preliminary ridership studies, right-of-way alignments, preliminary engineering studies, corridor connectivity and the local needs of each community to prepare them for implementing HSR. This plan is estimated to cost 30-50 million over three years (

In 2010 the Alliance received $1 million from the Federal Rail Administration to study HSR in the Intermountain West and to develop a vision for the area's rail network. The Alliance also hosted a regional conference which brought together 150 public officers, industry experts and HSR advocates. The partners plan to continue to work with state DOTs and state Governors in their efforts. The group has called for changes to be made in the grant application process to allow MPOs and other regional entities to apply directly for federal high-speed rail funds. The current application process allows only states to apply for such funds. The Alliance believes that allowing MPOs to apply for HSR funds would incentivize cooperation among regions and would provide for the construction of "last mile" corridors in local jurisdictions that connect HSR to the other modes of travel (

4. The Canada-US-Ontario-Michigan Border Transportation Partnership


Megaregion transportation planning will also have to re-evaluate the manner in which transportation issues have been addressed across national boundaries. As a megaregion anchors itself as a regional economic engine with increased visibility and presence on the global platform, it will be challenged to create or improve transportation and communication links with these global or international markets. The US market is primarily connected to international markets through its air and sea ports. However, due to its location relative to countries like Canada and Mexico which share physical boundaries with the United States, megaregion planning will have to address coordinating investment decisions with these countries' authorities to improve the flow of goods and people across international boundaries while maintaining a high level of national security.

The Canada-US-Ontario-Michigan Border Transportation Partnership was formed in 2000 for the purpose of improving the movement of people, goods and services across the border between the US and Canada. The Partnership also intends to further enhance the region's economic vitality and US/Canadian trade, meet the long term needs of the US and Canadian border inspection agencies, expedite the planning and environmental study process for cross boarder projects to ensure timely completion, address and consider all modes of travel and travel demand including road, rail and marine travel, integrate planning and environmental study processes into a single product that satisfies all members of the partnership, and ensure that the facilities provided are well supported technically or employ intelligent transportation systems to enhance border crossing efficiency and security (URS, 2004).

The participating members that make up the Partnership include the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Transport Canada (TC), the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (OMT) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). These agencies are committed to providing additional border crossing capacity in Southwest Ontario-Southeast Michigan and are subject to appropriate public oversight in both countries ( As a preliminary step to achieve its goals, the Partnership, in 2002, awarded a $4.5 million contract to conduct a Needs and Feasibility Planning Study to identify the current and future cross border transportation problems and opportunities that existed.

A major conclusion drawn from this preliminary report was the need to develop additional border capacity, especially in the Detroit-Windsor area. This corridor upgrade was of great importance and priority to both countries to support growth in trade between the two. The land border crossings of Detroit-Windsor and Port Huron-Sarnia of Southeast Michigan/Southwest Ontario are the busiest international crossings in North America, representing approximately 50% of the traffic volume crossing the US-Canada border ( From 1990 to 2000, both the vehicle and truck traffic has greatly increased for both modes. During this period vehicle traffic increased by 44%, from 19.7 million to 28.4 million and truck traffic more than doubled increasing from 2.5 million to 5.1 million by 2000. If this critical trade link was not addressed this border crossing would reach capacity, causing major bottlenecks in the cross border transportation system and surrounding networks in both countries. In 2001, approximately 87 percent of the value of Canadian exports was destined for the US, with roughly 40 percent of these exports entering the US through either the Detroit-Windsor or Port Huron-Sarnia corridors (URS, 2004).

Having identified the need to upgrade the Detroit-Windsor corridor the Partnership quickly initiated a formal environmental review for the river crossing in 2005. At this point, the Partnership presented a number of alternatives for the river crossings, and the associated infrastructure needs to support the facility including a bridge structure, two customs plazas and any highway upgrades needed to connect the plazas in both countries which would alleviate any bottlenecks into and out of the new facility. The Detroit River International Crossing Study (DRIC) evaluated a number of alternative crossing options that would best address the connectivity and congestion problems associated with this cross boundary facility. The project under consideration was required to go through the environmental assessment process in both the United States EPA and the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency to ensure that it conformed to the laws of both countries. The DRIC project received all environmental approvals in 2009.


In conducting the Needs and Feasibility Planning Study, the Partnership was directed by a Steering Committee comprised of senior staff from each of the partnership agencies, the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Transport Canada (TC), the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (OMT) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The Steering Committee provided guidance and direction to a Working Group that oversaw the day-to-day implementation of the study process and administered the activities of the Consulting Team. Collectively the Partnership Working group and the consulting team formed the Project team for the Needs and Feasibility Planning Study. The Partnership has also fostered relationships with other private and public organizations including, but not limited to the US Customs and Border Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the Ontario Ministry of economic Development, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada Environmental Assessment Agency, and Citizen and Immigration Canada. These partnerships have been maintained as the DRIC project progressed. The process for the assessment and development of the DRIC is based on the guiding principles that:

It is proposed that the DRIC will be owned by the public sector. However, the private sector will be approached to be involved in the development, financing and operation of the project. The public interest will be further protected through the terms and conditions defined in a public-private partnership contract with a private developer. During all phases of the project, the private developer will be expected to provide an avenue for public input. In addition to that, MDOT and Transport Canada will have to enter into an agreement that will specify the roles of each party (MDOT, 2007).


The preliminary cost estimates for all of the DRIC project elements were developed by an engineering consultant retained by the MDOT and TC. The total project cost was estimated at $2.2 billion in 2009 dollars, of which the assets on the US side of the border accounted for $1.3 billion and the Canadian side accounted for $0.85 billion. Figure 11 below provides an overview and breakdown of the cost estimates for the completion of the DRIC project elements. These costs are further broken down between the US and Canadian costs and responsibilities.

USD 2009 '000 US Bridge & Approach CA Bridge & Approach U.S. Plaza CA Plaza 175 Interchange Total
Toll Plaza GSAb
Construction/Design 233,704 238,429 47,214 89,755 155,9342 123,810 888,846
ROW3 32,556 - 63,020 110,500 50,595 152,220 408,891
Contingencies 79,367 83,164 13,055 17,491 72,037 35,017 300,131
Contractor Markups 62,164 68,668 5,430 14,810 59,480 22,069 232,621
Soft costs 75,047 57,223 17,540 34,811 49,567 52,779 286,967
Otherc 18,762 - 4,385 2,600 - 34,195 59,942
Total 501,600 447,484 150,644 269,967 387,613 420,090 2,177,398
Owner's costsd 54,409 - 118,187 - - 330,694 503,290

Source: MDOT (2009)

Figure 11. DRIC Project Cost Breakdown by Project Elements

The Michigan DOT and Transport Canada plan to further engage in value engineering and invite additional persons in the private sector to provide more innovative ideas that can be implemented in the project to reduce the cost of the project and to also provide additional benefits such as risk reductions, project schedule and performance improvements, improved designs, provides access to multi-disciplinary expertise, and fosters better communication and collaboration between stakeholders (MDOT, 2009).

Table 3. Potential Funding Source of Each Project Component

Project Components

Potential Funding Source

Main Bridge Private Financing (i.e. toll revenue)
U.S. Approach Bridge Private Financing (i.e. toll revenue)
Canadian Approach Bridge Private Financing (i.e. toll revenue)
U.S. Toll Plaza Canadian Federal Funds
Canadian Toll Plaza Canadian Federal Funds
I-75 Interchange Canadian Federal Funds
Duty Free, Customs Broker, Other (U.S. and Canada) Private Financing or Lease Revenue
U.S. Inspection Plaza U.S. General Services Administration
Canadian Inspection Plaza Canadian Federal Funds
Canadian GBSA Headquarters Canadian Federal Funds

Source: MDOT, 2009

In addition to the major bridge element in the DRIC, the project also requires substantial support infrastructure to be constructed such as the improvements to the I-75 interchange and construction of the US and Canadian inspection plazas. While the final funding for this project has not been completely secured, the Michigan DOT has provided a preliminary funding analysis which excludes any contributions by the State of Michigan and any US federal highway formula funds.

Given the financial challenges that are being experienced in Michigan as it relates to public financing, the Canadian Government has agreed to bear the burden of Michigan's contribution to the project ($550 million), including the portion of project funding that would normally be covered by the US federal highway formula funds (MDOT, 2010).


For a region that has been hard hit by the struggling economy, it is interesting to see that investment decisions to expand the border crossing capacity of the Detroit-Windsor crossing is still being pursued mainly because of the importance of this corridor for global trade between the two countries. Acknowledging the major need to improve this border crossing and its impact on the respective national economies, the US and Canadian national governments became highly involved in pushing this project along.

C. Multi-jurisdictional Organizations/Initiatives

1. Northwest Power Planning Council


Beginning in the 1940s, energy demand in the northwestern United States grew rapidly, "roughly doubling every 10 years" (Lee, 1982). This demand was largely met by hydroelectric power sources, and later by coal and nuclear power. By the 1970s, officials were concerned that the region's ability to continue supplying power would be insufficient. Acting on this concern, the Washington Public Power Supply System, a venture comprised of twenty-three local public utilities, settled on a plan to construct five new nuclear power plants (Alexander, Zagorin, & Peterson, 1983). The plants were intended to provide electricity to eighty-eight utilities in six states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada), which backed bonds funding the project. However, high inflation, low growth, and high energy prices across the United States dampened demand, and by 1983 four of the five plants were canceled and unable to repay their investors. This incident made clear that electricity demand and management in the Northwest region was more volatile and uncertain than had been recognized previously, and meant that planning for the provision of electricity would be a more complicated undertaking than had been expected.

The Pacific Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act, passed by Congress in 1980, established a new regional framework for conservation and provision of electric power and environmental impact mitigation in the Columbia River Watershed in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and portions of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada (Northwest Council). In particular, the Act sought to ensure a continued adequate supply of electricity to the region, while protecting wildlife and environmental resources affected by the provision of electricity. To this end, the Act mandated the cooperation and joint planning efforts of local, state, Federal, and tribal agencies involved in the management of the Columbia River System. The Act also sought to ensure public participation in planning decisions, a new process for the region. The Act established a Pacific Northwest Electric Power and Conservation Planning Council to manage planning in these areas. This Council was mandated to create a plan for electric energy conservation and included a provision that required significant public input, and to create a program for environmental impact mitigation and protection of fish and wildlife affected by energy production in the Northwest. Although the Act provided for the Council to be optionally disbanded after creating these initial programs, the Council remains in effect in 2011, and has submitted six plans for conservation and provision of electric power.

Structure & governance

The Northwest Power Planning Council was established by the Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980 with the dual roles of creating a plan for providing power and ensuring fish and wildlife conservation in the four primary states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Membership in the Council is made up of eight representatives of whom two are appointed by each of the four states' governors, and each representative serves for a term of three years. In addition to these eight representatives, the Council employs a professional staff for assistance. The Council is not a Federal agency, but a regional one, described as "an interstate compact, a form of governmental organization that partakes of both state and Federal authority" (Lee, 1991). Funding for the Council is derived from the Bonneville Power Administration, an agency of the Federal Department of the Interior. The Council's central offices are located in Portland, Oregon, while satellite offices are located in each of the four states.

Figure 12 shows the primary four states of the Columbia River Basin that the Northwest Council over see's, including the four primary states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

Source: Northwest Power & Conservation Council via Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

Figure 12. The Northwest Council oversees power planning in the four primary states of the Columbia River Basin: Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho

The primary duty of the Council is to formulate a plan for providing power for the four-state region. The first plan was required within two years of the Council's formation, while revisions of the plan are required every five years thereafter. The Northwest Power Act mandates that for each revision or substantial, nontechnical amendment to the plan, public hearings are held in each of the four states, as well as in other states that are affected by the revision. In formulating the plan, the Council is required to consider two main guidelines

The plan must also include a twenty-year outlook of regional power demand, and determine an environmental cost-benefit analysis for the plan.

The Council is directed to include model conservation standards in its energy plan, and is provided with a mechanism to enforce compliance with these standards. The Council is instructed to evaluate the extent to which states or subdivisions within states meet the conservation standards, and has the power to direct the Bonneville Power Administration to enact a surcharge on those entities that fail to meet the conservation standards in order to recoup the savings that would otherwise be generated.

Due to the impact of hydroelectric power generation on the region's river systems, the Council is also responsible for preparing a program for conservation and restoration of the fish and wildlife populations of the Columbia River and its tributaries. In particular, the program must take steps to mitigate the diminishment of the Northwest region's salmon population, which has diminished considerably due to hydroelectric generation. This program must be developed in consultation with the Federal, state, and tribal agencies responsible for management of fish and wildlife.


Funding for the Council and its programs is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration according to a millage rate set by the Northwest Power Act. This funding comes from the BPA's revenues from annual sales of firms' power[1] in the Northwest region. The millage rate established by the Act is limited to "0.02 mill multiplied by the kilowatt hours of firm power forecast to be sold by the [BPA] during the year to be funded" ("Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning & Conservation Act," 1980). However, should this rate prove insufficient for the Council to meet its responsibilities, the limit may be increased to any rate up to 0.10 mills. As of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, the 0.02 millage rate was deemed insufficient, and was raised to 0.92 mills, resulting in a budget of $10,355,000 (Northwest Council, 2011). This represents a 2.1% increase over the 2012 fiscal year's budget, which is in line with budgets going back to 2008. Similarly, the millage rate established for each of those years has been between 0.09 and 0.10.

Table 4. Budgets for the Northwest Council have increased at slightly over 2% per year between 2007 and 2013

Fiscal Year Budget % Change from Previous
2007 $9,085,000 -
2008 $9,276,000 2.1%
2009 $9,467,000 2.1%
2010 $9,683,000 2.3%
2011 $9,891,000 2.1%
2012 $10,142,000 2.5%
2013* $10,355,000 2.1%


Source: (Northwest Council, 2011)

Figure 13 is a pie chart showing funding distribution for the Northwest Council's project areas. It includes distribution of funding by project area in the Northwest Council's FY 2012 budget $3470000 for Power (34%), 3112000 for Council Participation (30%0, $2397000 for Fish and Wildlife (23%)  and $1378000 for Public Affairs (13%) All but state council include central administraation burden for executive management as well as legal, fiscal, and administrative services. Total FY 12 budget, $10,357,000.

Source: Budget 2013

Figure 13. Distribution of funding by project area in the Northwest Council's FY 2012 budget.

The largest portion of the Council's budget, 34%, is devoted to development of the power plan. An additional 30% of the budget is set aside for the running of each state's satellite Council office. Twenty-three percent is devoted to development of the fish and wildlife conservation program. This budget does not include the cost of operating the fish and wildlife program, which is borne by the BPA both through direct funding and through lost revenues due to water released from dams for the benefit of fish and wildlife, rather than the generation of energy (Lee, 1991). The final 13% of the Council's budget is set aside for public affairs. This includes funding for the Council's public outreach and education efforts.


Lee (1991) cites the Council for its dual achievements of improving energy efficiency and conservation in the region and promoting fish and wildlife conservation. However, he cautions that "the Northwest Power Act, by buttressing the role of the Bonneville Power Administration, preserved existing, perhaps outmoded forms of economic organization even as it pushed these institutions into new territory." He also notes that the low-hanging fruit of energy conservation has already been plucked; it will be more difficult in the future to conserve power cost-effectively. Ultimately, he worries that this regional structure adds bureaucracy to the goals of power generation, and conservation and environmental mitigation, where solutions from outside the governmental structure would be preferable.

The National Regulatory Research Institute (1992) points to the role of the Federal government as a limitation to the Council's role as a model for regional regulation of public utilities. Due to the presence of a strong tradition of interconnectivity and Federal involvement in the region, a regional approach was logical and well-supported by the states. Furthermore, the Council is not "a true regional regulatory authority." Instead, the Council's "role is largely advisory, but its suggestions can have some impact." Similarly to Lee, the NRRI suggests that the Council adds to government bureaucracy, potentially increasing the costs it seeks to constrain both through the additional time allocated to regulatory oversight and the direct costs of running the agency. Finally, the NRRI cautions that the Council's dependence on the BPA for resources may hinder its ability to constrain the Federal agency.

2. Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)


During the last decade global warming and climate variability have become a major policy issue. In order to stave off the most severe impacts of global climate change, deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) would need to occur. Thirty percent of these gases can be attributed to the transportation sector which is expected to be the fastest growing sector due to increased demand for gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel. In June 2010, to curtail this projection, twelve mid-Atlantic and northeastern jurisdictions created the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), among transportation, environment and energy agencies. The purpose of the TCI is not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, but also to minimize the transportation system's reliance on high-carbon fuels, promote sustainable growth, address the challenges of vehicle-miles traveled, and help build the clean energy economy. The states involved will work collaboratively to explore and develop policies and programs that can result in greater energy efficiency of regional transportation systems, as well as yield reductions of regional greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation system.

In order to develop the most effective and efficient ways for the jurisdictions to meet their own goals with this initiative, those involved have developed a strategic plan. This plan will occur over a three year period and will focus on: (1) developing a common understanding of the region's transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and energy use as well as the role the transportation sector plays in supporting other important state goals such as access to affordable housing, economic development, job creation, and improving public health; (2) assessing state climate action plan goals, legislative mandates and strategies for greenhouse gas emission reductions; and (3) identifying and implementing regional strategies and policies that will cost effectively assist the states in achieving their emissions reduction goals and regional priorities while supporting other related important public policies.

The strategic plan for the Transportation and Climate Initiative will focus on the development of state-level strategies and policies in four areas:

  1. (1) Alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles,
  2. (2) Sustainable communities,
  3. (3) Freight movement, and
  4. (4) Information and communications technologies.

For each of these four areas, the TCI jurisdictions will work together to conduct analyses and assessments that will inform development of TCI policies and priorities. Key to these efforts will be the development of sound metrics to set baselines for emissions and energy use in transportation systems and to assess cost effectiveness of potential policies. An additional priority is for the states to work closely with other partners in the public and private sector that share common objectives.

To achieve its strategic goals a work plan has been implemented. The work plan outlines the following:

Structure & Governance

When established, the Transportation & Climate Initiative formed a Staff Working Group to begin the work of the TCI. This group has organized a Governance Structure to carry out the work of TCI. Their structure is headed by an Executive Leadership group which is composed of the Agency Heads that signed the Declaration of Intent that began the initiative. They have the responsibility to provide overall direction as well as approve decisions that involve Agency commitments or where TCI seeks funding commitments.

The Staff Working Group, which reports to the Executive Leadership, is composed of one or more representatives from each agency in each jurisdiction. They provide input on development of all projects, governance decisions, and internal as well as external materials prior to Agency Head review. A Steering Committee is also created within the Staff Working Group. The Steering Committee oversees the regular operations and policy deliberations of the TCI and determines when issues are ready for full Staff Working Group review. They will also be responsible for funding resources, linking with partners, coordinating workgroups, and identifying data gaps and information needs.

Topical Workgroups report to the Staff Working Group. Each will be formed to develop work plans, projects and activities on topics of interest to the Agency Heads. Each Workgroup will oversee the development and management of issue specific tasks, agendas and projects. The Topical Workgroups will be chaired by a state representative and facilitated by a Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) consultant. These groups may consist of representatives from any or all of the 35 member agencies. Currently, four have been formed: Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles; Sustainable Communities; Freight; and Innovative Communication Technologies.

A Strategic Communications Team has been formed with the responsibility to develop TCI branding that provides a clear identity, while maintaining its relationship to the successful RGGI partnership. There will also be a group to focus on funding. They will establish a one- and three- year funding plan as well as seek funding to support the operations and development of the three year work plan and anchor projects.

Figure 14 shows a flow chart on how the Georgetown Climate Center breaks down their research activity. The chart starts with Agency Heads, down to TCI Workgroup, then to Sustainability Workgroup, Alternative Fuels Workgroup, Innovation Workgroup and Freight Workgroup.  Georgetown Climate Center supports the TCI providing research, facilitation, and funding.

Source: Georgetown Climate Centermn (2011)

Figure 14. TCI organization chart


The Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) serves as convener for the Transportation & Climate Initiative and has provided financial support for the development of the initiative through resources from their core philanthropic funders (Rockefeller Bros. and the Tremaine Foundation). Initial activities have been supported by the States who provided staff resources for the Staff Working Group, the Steering Committee and the four workgroups.

In the future, for operating costs, anchor projects and policy development, in-kind support as well as overall TCI research agenda resources will be sought from private foundations, in-kind services from state agencies, and projected federal grants with associated public and private match.


While the initiative is only one year into the three year work plan the shared efforts of the jurisdictions are in progress in each of the four focus areas. In the alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles area, a TIGER II grant has been completed which will connect Electric Vehicle (EV) hubs with metropolitan and local EV networks and public transportation systems. Also, EV infrastructure policies at a regional level have been coordinated which will accelerate the spread of EV sales and use.

In the area of sustainable communities, state level policies have been developed that foster sustainable communities and smart growth in order to reduce travel and promote transit oriented development. The initiative has also been able to bridge support for sustainable communities' policies at the federal level and action at the local level by leveraging state resources and authorities.

The freight movement section is in the process of seeking ways to identify and advance new regional initiatives to promote sustainable economic development using improved movement systems and technology. It is also considering ways to reduce truck vehicle miles traveled. Work completed in the area of information and communication technology includes being able to find a way to tap into the potential of information and communication technologies to make transportation more energy efficient and sustainable in the region. Although an evaluation of this initiative after only one year would be premature, a preliminary review of completed work as well as the work in progress demonstrates the collaborative efforts of this initiative to be a success.

3. The I-95 Corridor Coalition


Interstate 95, which stretches along the United States' Eastern Seaboard from northern Maine to southern Florida for 1,917 miles, is one of the nation's most heavily trafficked corridors. On an average day, 72,000 vehicles travel on I-95, reaching over 300,000 vehicles on peak days; additionally, truck volumes average 10,000 vehicles per day and reach as high as 31,000 at peak. In total, this corridor accounts for 35% of the nation's annual vehicle miles traveled (I-95 Corridor Coalition, 2011a). The surrounding region makes up 10% of the land area of the US and 37% of its population, with regional densities more than three times the US average and comparable to Western Europe (Cambridge Systematics Inc, 2008). By 2040, it is anticipated that vehicle miles traveled will increase by 70% and truck volumes will double. These volume increases will lead to increases in congestion and travel delays that will severely degrade performance of the I-95 corridor transportation system.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition came together as an informal organization of transportation professionals seeking to work together on cross-jurisdictional transportation issues. It describes itself as "an alliance of transportation agencies, toll authorities, and related organizations" with member organizations located along the entire I-95 Corridor from Maine to Florida (I-95 Corridor Coalition, 2011c). Additionally, the organization has affiliate members in Canada. The Coalition's mission is to provide "a forum for key decision and policy makers to address transportation management and operations issues" which it has been doing since the early 1990s (I-95 Corridor Coalition, 2011c).


The I-95 Coalition was originally formed as an ad-hoc organization of transportation professionals, and its current organization retains an informal character. The coalition does not have formal by-laws; instead, it is governed by a set of operating procedures, first adopted in 1996. These guidelines are updated as necessary, most recently in December 2010, and documented in the Procedural Guidelines Manual (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010).

The Coalition is primarily directed by its Executive Board and Steering Committee. The Executive Board consists of the directors of each full member group or agency, and its mission is to determine the Coalition's long-term goals and focus. Reporting to the Executive Board is the Coalition's Executive Director. The Executive Director manages the Coalition's staff, consisting of Program Coordinators and outside consultants. The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the Coalition's programs. The Program Coordinators "provide overall staff support to all activities of the Coalition" (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010). The Steering Committee is responsible for ensuring that the Coalition meets the goals set by the Executive Board through the management of Coalition projects and policy development. It is made up of representatives from both full member groups and affiliate members. The Steering Committee also oversees the Coalition's program committees and the Policy and Strategic Planning Committee.

The Coalition's three program track committees consist of Travel Information Services, Coordinated Incident Management - Safety, and Intermodal Freight & Passenger Movement. These three committees oversee the development of the Coalition's projects within their specified program areas. Committee membership comes from member agency representatives, "but participation is open to anyone with an interest in the goals of the committee, including representatives of private or corporate entities" (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010). Each committee has a defined area of transportation policy in which they guide Coalition projects (see Table 5 below).

Table 5. Summary of program track committee goals.

Committee Goal
Travel Information Services To support the development of a corridor-wide, multimodal traveler information system that provides users with accurate and timely information.
Coordinated Incident Management - Safety To raise the visibility of safety in all Coalition activities, and facilitate, support, and enhance the coordination and implementation of interagency efforts in response to major incidents. Within this Committee are Regional HOGs groups -- an acronym from the previous committee name of "Highway Operations Group" -- which address regional geographies from Maine to Florida.
Intermodal Freight and Passenger Movement To promote reliable, efficient, and balanced intermodal transportation throughout the Coalition states by supporting policies, information technology, and operations that improve the intermodal movement of freight and passengers.

Source: (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010)

In addition to the three program track committees, the Steering Committee oversees the Policy and Strategic Planning Committee (PSP) (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010). PSP is responsible for providing long-range strategic planning support and policy guidance to the Executive Board. In addition, PSP assists the Steering Committee with annual budget planning and work plans. Other duties of PSP include supporting the functions of the program track committees by coordinating projects that fall under several committees.

Figure 15 is a flow chart of the I-95 Coalition's original structure. It includes Executive Board, down to Executive Director, the Coalition Staff and Consultants a Steering Committee. With a Strategic Planning and Policy Division, a Traveler Information staff, Incident Management, Intermodal and Freight Division. This leads to Regional HOGGs Committee, and a Commercial Vehicle Committee

Source: (I-95 Corridor Coalition, 2011b)

Figure 15. I-95 Corridor Coalition organizational structure.

Planning Process

The Coalition operates on an annual program planning cycle (See Figure 16). This cycle begins in April with guidelines setting the Coalition's programming priorities for the next year. Ultimately, the cycle culminates with a work plan created by the Coalition's program track committees and approved by the Steering Committee and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The development of the Coalition's work plan emphasizes both top-down and bottom-up planning, with input coming from both the Coalition's executive committees as well as from within member agencies (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010).

Figure 16 is a summary table of the I-95 Coalition's annual planning cycle. It starts April/May through October/November/December, then January/April and back to April/May. It includes Executive Board Meetings and moves through all the Steering Committee Meetings.

Source: (I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010)

Figure 16. Summary of the I-95 Coalition's annual program planning cycle.


Program funding for the I-95 Coalition is managed by the Steering Committee. This includes both budgeting, which is handled by the PSP committee, as well as procuring funds for the Coalition's work. Funding is arranged through partnership agreements between the FHWA and the Coalition's member agencies. These agreements determine the ratio of FHWA and member agency funding dedicated to each project. The FHWA requires a match from the member agencies for any Federal funds provided by the Administration I-95 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee, 2010).

Beginning with Fiscal Year 2007 and on, this funding match is set at 20% of the Coalition's total funding. In other words, the FHWA provides 80% of the Coalition's funding, while the remaining 20% is provided by member agencies through the details of their partnership agreements with the FHWA. This 20% can come from public or private sources, but must be non-Federally derived. Member-supplied matching funds can be either cash or in-kind. In-kind funds can include donations of equipment or materials, as well as donations of time from member agency staff.

4.The Randstad's Deltametropolis


The Netherlands' Randstad, or "edge city," is a region comprised of the nation's four largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, which form an urbanized ring on the periphery of a central rural area (Ross et al., 2008). This region is the undisputable economic powerhouse of the Netherlands: despite containing only 20 percent of the nation's land area, it contains 42 percent of the population and 45 percent of the jobs (Cowell, 2010). Despite the region's clear importance to the nation, Lambregts (2002) notes that the central Dutch government neglected investment in this region after World War II in favor of promoting growth that was more evenly distributed across the country. Only after planning officials from the four cities began taking action in 1998 to preserve the region's national economic dominance did a coherent vision for the megaregion begin to come together.

Figure 17 is a map showing the Netherlands Randstad "Edge City". The Randstad is comprised of four major cities of Holland - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague - situated around a rural "Green Heart" of the region.

Source: (van der Burg & Vink, 2008).

Figure 17. The Randstad is comprised of four major cities of Holland - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague - situated around a rural "Green Heart" of the region.


Megaregional cooperation in the Randstad is organized on primarily voluntary terms. Salet (2010) states that "there is no such thing as a Randstad administration; it is just a collection of 173 municipalities, seven urban agglomerations and the urban parts of four provinces." Although the Randstad has been mentioned in central government planning documents since 1958, regional administration is organized at municipal and provincial levels, with no official administration at the higher level of the Randstad (Salet, 2010). However, voluntary associations promoting the interests of the Randstad do exist. For example, the Deltametropolis Association "brings businesses, public interest groups, research institutions and governments together" to support "sustainable development" of the Randstad. In addition, Regio Randstad, a Brussels-based organization, represents the Randstad's interests to the European Union.

Although a 2006 proposal to combine the four provinces of the Randstad into one was abandoned due to the imbalance that would have been created between a dominant Randstad province and the nation's other eight provinces, van den Berg and Vink (2008) note that small steps have been taken from within government to condense the separate urban authorities into a regional organization: from at least a dozen water management boards, the number has now been reduced to just four major boards. In addition, the national government has taken steps to improve the decision-making process for regional planning, which has previously been inhibited by a feeling of "lack of 'ownership'" (van der Burg & Vink, 2008) among individual municipal-level authorities. This has meant assigning pairs of officials, one cabinet minister and one regional-level politician, to take control of Randstad-related projects that the central government has deemed urgent, with the intention of creating a sense of responsibility in the designated officials.


Within the Randstad, a number of planning activities have been proposed, including several transportation initiatives. The current system of public transportation in the region is considered inadequate, while the roadways are cited for their excessive congestion (Ross et al., 2008), so it is no wonder that several attempts have been made to address these issues at a regional level. In 2005, a transport link known as Rapidrandstad was proposed, which would provide a magnetic-levitation rail link between the cities of the region (AFX News Limited, 2005). However, this project has apparently been shelved since 2007.

The region's ongoing congestion issues have arisen partly as a result of the government's goal of pursuing compact urbanization "within existing cities and in nearby urban areas" during the period from 1995-2005, in what are known as the VINEX areas (Salet, 2010). Transportation infrastructure development lagged behind the rapid pace at which residential developments were produced in these areas, resulting in a high rate of car ownership among residents of these developments. More recently, the government has proposed that growth be encouraged in a new spatial relationship referred to as "urban networks." These networks seek to create urbanization patterns "characterized by organized spatial relationships between nodes of urban condensation" which would fit with the polycentric-character of the Randstad region (Salet, 2010).

Finally, an ongoing transportation-oriented project is the Deltametropolis Association's SprintCity project. This project seeks to improve transportation opportunities in the Randstad through a combination of better utilization of the current rail network as well as the addition of new infrastructure (Deltametropolis Association, 2011). The project focuses on the goal of increasing density and development around inner-city rail stations, while increasing the frequency of inter-city and local trains. Its methods include physical surveys of sites surrounding inner-city rail stations, as well as a computer-based game that simulates development with the input of transportation stakeholders.

The Randstad 2040 plan seeks "to produce a long term vision [for the region] as basis for new investment projects" (van der Burg & Vink, 2008). The post-World War II vision for the country saw the cities of the Randstad individually, with a desire to keep them separate while ensuring that opportunity and investment were spread equally across the nation. By contrast, the new plan tries to unify the region in favor of a single plan for growth that will raise its international stature. The plan positions the Randstad to take advantage of each city's individual strengths - Rotterdam is the largest shipping port in Europe; Amsterdam is a center of commerce and tourism; The Hague is a national and international hub of justice - while strengthening the functional ties between the cities to become a cohesive region. Given the Randstad's unique vulnerability to climate change, as much of the Netherlands lies below sea level, ecological concerns are also a major planning consideration in the region.

As part of the Randstad's attempt to position itself internationally, the Netherlands is also considering placing a bid on the 2028 Olympic Games. Hosting the Games would bring international exposure and tourism revenues to the region, as well as spurring development initiatives for the Randstad in the interim and beyond. Currently, the bid is in its preliminary stages, including feasibility studies and initial site planning (GB Staff, 2008). Polls show that a majority of Dutch citizens are interested in pursuing an Olympic bid for the Randstad in 2028 (I amsterdam, 2011). The decision to proceed officially with the bid will be made in 2016.

5. The Oresund Committee


The Oresund region is a transnational region comprised of the Capital region of Denmark (island of Zealand including Copenhagen) and the Skane region (Scania) of southern Sweden. As of July 2011, the region has a combined population of 3,770,603 and a population density of 180/km. Spatially, the region is characterized by a strong core-periphery structure. The cities of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmo (Sweden) constitute the urban core, accounting for approximately 68% (2.57 million) of the total regional population. The surrounding peripheral areas are less dense. Historically, cross-border relationships between the two countries across the Strait of Oresund can be traced back to seventeenth century Scandinavian wars when Scania (part of the Danish Kingdom) became a possession of the Swedish empire. In recent decades, cross-border collaboration has been fuelled by the commercial and scientific interests of companies and universities on both sides (Collinge and Gibney, 2010; Schmidt, 2005).

Figure 18 is a map of the Oresund Region of Denmark. The Oresund region is a transnational region comprised of the Capital region of Denmark (island of Zealand including Copenhagen) and the Skane region (Scania) of southern Sweden. The cities of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmo (Sweden) constitute the urban core, accounting for approximately 68% (2.57 million) of the total regional population.

Source: Oresundsbro Konsortiet (2010)

Figure 18. The Oresund Region.

Zealand and Skane have an abundance of diverse knowledge-based industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, IT/telecommunications, design and environmental technologies. The two metropolitan areas combined play host to over 20 universities and 130,000 students. This ensures the production of a highly-skilled and specialized labor force. The goal of the Oresund cross-border project is to increase business networks and co-operation between the two regions to further enhance innovation and specialization and create a powerful agglomeration economy (OECD, 2003). The 1980s and 1990s provided the initial efforts in creating a cross-border integrated region. These efforts included the development of a common vision (in 1999) for the region and the agreement between the Danish and Swedish governments to create a fixed link between the two cities in 1991. A major catalyst in this process was the lobbying efforts of several supranational organizations (European Union, Nordic Council) to establish the Oresund Region as a major metropolis in Europe. The fixed link, namely, the Oresund Bridge, opened in June 2000 and connects the cities of Copenhagen and Malmo while a ferry connection links the cities of Helsingor (Zealand) and Helsingborg (Scania) on the northern side (Mathiessen, 2004; Schmidt, 2005). The bridge has contributed functionally to increased trade and exchange between the two regions as well as served as a significant symbol in the integration process. The final phases of integration include the identification and neutralization of barriers toward integration as well as establishment of an organizational structure.

Structure & Governance

The integration of the Oresund region has been influenced by a diversity of policy instruments formulated by regional/local as well as supranational organizations. Key policy areas that have been addressed or discussed in the literature include 1) infrastructure and spatial planning; 2) labor market; 3) networking and knowledge diffusion; and 4) taxation (Schmidt, 2005; OECD, 2003). Nationally sponsored infrastructure investments were evaluated at a total of EUR 8.5 billion, 27% of which was spent on the Oresund Bridge. There have also been national efforts to integrate social and tax policies to reduce barriers to integration. At the supranational level, organizations such as the EU and Nordic Council have focused on integration in the Oresund region through the INTERREG programs, a funding initiative launched by the European Commission to facilitate cohesion within cross-border regions. The first INTERREG (INTERREG II-A) phase lasted from 1996-2001 where initiatives related to business, trade, and tourism received the greatest amount of funding. An often quoted success of this INTERREG phase is the creation of "Medicon Valley", a cross-border association of private companies and university researchers aimed at improving pharmaceutical and biomedical technologies (OECD, 2003). INTERREG III-A began in 2000 and expanded its focus to include the entire Oresund region. Projects funded by this phase are larger in size, more cross-sectoral, encourage involvement from local, volunteer and private organizations, and have a greater environmental focus.

Other cross-border initiatives include the Oresund University which is a driving force in establishing the Oresund science region. The Oresund University is a consortium of 20 Swedish and Danish universities that actively promote knowledge-sharing and cross-border networking. This has served as a nucleus for the development of a high-tech cluster of firms, aiding economic development (Garlick et al, 2006).

The Oresund Region consists of two physically different areas that are governed by different national labor market, fiscal, environmental protection, planning, and education policies. This precludes the development of a single administrative authority that possesses explicit legal and administrative authority to implement joint development strategies. Similar to other cross-border regions, cross-border integration is regulated by the "governance without government" framework. According to the OECD (2003), "Governance" encompasses the establishment and adherence to a set of rules and norms that defines practices, assigns roles and responsibilities, and guides interaction between organizations, so as to better tackle collective problems". The main aim of cross border governance is to overcome obstacles to integration.

The Oresund Committee is the leading cross-border organization that formulates policy at the regional level and serves as the primary political body for bilateral collaboration. It was established in 1993 as a platform to nurture horizontal partnerships and create formal protocols for information exchange. The committee consists of local and regional politicians from both sides, with the two national ministries serving as observers. The committee is co-chaired by the city-mayor of Copenhagen and the president of the region of Skane. Private organizations are not allowed to be part of the committee. The working committee (officials from member organizations) and the secretariat (15 full time officials) are jointly responsible for drafting and implementing Oresund policies. A sub-group of the secretariat also makes decisions on EU projects funded through INTERREG and facilitates the required horizontal and vertical coordination required for implementation. However, it represents a fairly top-down approach to governance without a focus on public participation. The Oresund Identity Network is an apolitical organization created in 2000 to promote and market a regional identity or brand on the cultural side (Hall, 2008).


Infrastructure development is seen as the most crucial element in successful integration. A total of EUR 8.5 billion have been spent on improving transportation infrastructure. The aim is to create a comprehensive transportation network with an emphasis on public transport. The Oresund Bridge serves as the most important integration tool both from a functional as well as symbolic standpoint. Functionally, it increases mobility and removes barriers with respect to living and working in different parts of the Oresund Region.

Table 6. Examples of larger transportation investment in the region

Project EUR millions
City tunnel in Malmö (5.5 km) - still being planned 800
Roads in Malmö (14.5 km) 220
The Oresund fixed link (coast-to-coast 16.2 km) - finished 2,320
Land work on the Danish side 840
Land work on the Swedish side 220
Rolling stock 1,350
Expansion of Copenhagen Airport 940
Metro in Copenhagen (21 km) 1,250
Expansion of the Central Station in Copenhagen 400
The Orestad (main roads) 180
Total 8,520

Source: OECD (2003)

Symbolically, it stands as a monument to sustained efforts towards integration and creation of a regional identity. The bridge and associated shore installation were financed primarily through construction loans from the domestic and international capital markets. The construction costs for the Oresund Bridge totaled EUR 2.3 billion. The bi-national Oresund Bridge Consortium established through agreement between the Danish and Swedish governments, manages the bridge and is responsible for lending funds to the bridge. The loans taken on by the Consortium are guaranteed jointly by the Danish and Swedish states. The loans and interest are entirely repaid through tolls collected as part of the bridge usage (Braathen, 2004). Both countries exert equal (50%) ownership of the Oresund Bridge Consortium through two national companies, A/S Oresund and SVEDAB, investing DKK 25 million in the Consortium (OECD, 2003).


The Oresund Bridge and other infrastructural projects have created a network of mobility within the region and promoted interactions among people, firms and institutions. It has had significant successes in bringing about integration and other economic development has followed as a consequence of increased accessibility. In terms of competitiveness, it has enhanced Copenhagen's stature on the Danish side and created a new "growth pole" around Malmo on the Swedish side. Increased global investments are also putting the region on the global map.

Differing fiscal systems remain one of the most significant barriers to integration in the region. These differences include the existence of different currencies as well as different tax structures in both nations. For example, income tax rates, including social security, tend to be lower in Denmark, and property taxation is lower in Sweden. These complexities make it challenging to calculate the actual tax burdens of those who commute across borders for employment purposes. Through tax treatises modeled on the OECD Model Convention, Denmark and Sweden continue to re-negotiate common tax structures as asymmetries arise (OECD, 2003).

[1]Transportation Planning Organization

Updated: 10/20/2015
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