Federal law could have impact on goals for city-county MPO

Posted: October 3, 2012

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Federal legislation that went into effect Monday could have an impact on local transportation planning goals for the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

While general information on the legislation — called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) — was presented during the MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday morning, it is unclear how the law will specifically affect the local organization.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “MAP-21 creates a streamlined, performance-based and multimodal program to address the many challenges facing the U.S. transportation system. These challenges include improving safety, maintaining infrastructure condition, reducing traffic congestion, improving efficiency of the system and freight movement, protecting the environment and reducing delays in project delivery.”

The MPO’s funding will not be changed from its current level, but the organization will have to set transportation goals, or performance measures, for itself.

The performance measures likely will include reducing traffic fatalities and injuries, reducing congestion and improving air quality by reducing emissions from motor vehicles, John Madera, a senior transportation planner for the MPO, said after the meeting.

“There are a lot of details that haven’t been described yet that have to be ironed out, particularly regarding the relationship between the MPO and [the Virginia Department of Transportation],” he said. “But looking down the line, we’re looking at developing a whole set of performance measures for our transportation network.”

Technical Committee Chairman Tim Youmans said he’s eager to hear the MPO staff’s summary of how the MAP-21 could affect the organization and its goals.

“The administrative guidelines for that federal legislation haven’t been fully drafted yet, so the nuts and bolts of how it’s going to impact us we don’t know because we haven’t seen the administrative rules,” Youmans said after the meeting.

The MPO staff is planning a presentation relevant to the local area for the MPO Policy Board meeting on Oct. 17, Madera said.

Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration Building were Chairman Tim Youmans and members Karen Taylor, John Madera, Terry Short, Kris Tierney, Eric Lawrence, Patrick Barker, Lisa DuMetz, John Bishop and Brian Henshaw. Absent were Jim Deskins, Tom Hoy, Perry Eisenach, Renny Manuel, Renee Wells, John Simkins, Tony Cho, Rusty Harrington and Tim Stowe.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com