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Rural Capacity Building Focus Group

Summary Report

August 13-14, 2001, Annapolis MD

On August 13-14, 2001 the FHWA, in conjunction with FTA and OST, held a focus group on rural capacity building in Annapolis, Maryland. The meeting resulted in a broad and candid exchange of ideas on rural communities, transportation, and a proposed new U.S. DOT initiative. The insights developed will be extremely valuable to FHWA as it develops an initiative to build capacity for rural transportation planning and decision-making.

The group considered:


Twelve representatives from State DOTs and rural governments and seven U.S. DOT observers met for the facilitated meeting (see Attachment 1 for participants).

The Approach

The meeting took place over two days. The first day focused broadly on concerns of rural America. Participants exchanged broad ranging perspectives on issues, challenges, and hopes for the future. They also established themselves as a group rather than as representatives of different constituencies. The second day focused on the structure of the proposed U.S. DOT initiative and included a series of guided questions on goals, form, structure, and products for a new initiative for rural capacity building. The day concluded with participants functioning as a focus group to react to and help shape the initiative.

Observations from the first day

The groups offered insightful comments on rural America and its needs, including the following:

Focus Group Discussion

The following summarizes the results of the focus group to consider the proposed initiative.

General Reactions

Organization of the Steering Committee

Concerns to address

What will it take for the initiative to succeed?

Concluding remarks

Attachment 1

Participants in Rural Focus Group

Fred Abousleman
Federal Highway Administration
Washington, DC
Brenda Cary
Assistant Director of Public Works
City of Hays
Hays, KS
Annette Coffey
Director, Division of Planning
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Frankfort, KY
Trey Coleman
Regional Planner
Appalachian Regional Commission
Washington, DC
Barry Driscoll
Director of Policy and Planning
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Montpelier, VT
Jill Hochman
Director, Office of Intermodal and Statewide Programs
Federal Highway Administration
Washington, DC
William Lyons
Project Manager
U.S. DOT/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Cambridge, MA
Fred Marquez
Texas DOT
Austin, TX
Tom McCurdy
Public Works Director
City of Lindsay
Lindsay, CA
Karen W. Miller
Boone County
Columbia, MO
Pat Moss
Mayor Pro Tem
City of Hickory
Hickory, NC
Jean Raymond
Saratoga County
Edinburg, NY
Elizabeth Robbins
Director of Planning, Advocacy and Initiatives Washington DOT
Olympia, WA
Bob Romig
Director, Office of Policy Planning
Florida DOT
Tallahassee, FL
Dee Spann
Team Leader, Statewide Transportation Planning
Federal Highway Administration
400 Seventh St. SW HEPS-10
Washington, DC
Kent Van Landuyt
Planning Liaison
Missouri DOT
Jefferson City, MO
Paul Verchinski
Chief of Statewide and Intermodal Planning
Federal Transit Administration
Washington, DC
Diane Wigle
Policy Analyst
Office of the Secretary
Washington, DC
Lisa Williams
Transportation Specialist
Federal Highway Administration
Washington, DC
Updated: 4/12/2012
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