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Proposed Policy Guidance on Metropolitan Planning Organization Representation

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Proposed Policy Guidance on Metropolitan Planning Organization Representation

Victor M. Mendez
Federal Highway Administration
September 30, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 189 (Monday, September 30, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60015-60017]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23780]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

Federal Highway Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2013-0029]


Proposed Policy Guidance on Metropolitan Planning Organization 
Representation

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Proposed policy guidance; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The FTA and FHWA are jointly issuing this proposed guidance on 
implementation of provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 
21st Century Act (MAP-21), Public Law 112-141, that require 
representation by providers of public transportation in each 
metropolitan planning organization (MPO) that serves a transportation 
management area (TMA) no later than October 1, 2014. The purpose of 
this guidance is to assist MPOs and providers of public transportation 
in complying with this new requirement.

DATES: Comments must be received by October 30, 2013. Any comments

[[Page 60016]]

received beyond this deadline will be considered to the extent 
practicable.

ADDRESSES: Comments. You may submit comments identified by the docket 
number (FTA-2013-0029) by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    DOT Electronic Docket: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    U.S. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, Washington, 
DC 20590.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: Docket Management Facility, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, Southeast, Room 
W12-140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
    Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency names (Federal Transit 
Administration and Federal Highway Administration) and docket number 
(FTA-2013-0029) for this notice at the beginning of your comments. You 
must submit two copies of your comments if you submit them by mail. If 
you wish to receive confirmation that FTA and FHWA received your 
comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Due to 
security procedures in effect since October 2001, mail received through 
the U.S. Postal Service may be subject to delays. Parties submitting 
comments may wish to consider using an express mail firm to ensure 
prompt filing of any submissions not filed electronically or by hand. 
All comments received will be posted, without change and including any 
personal information provided, to http://www.regulations.gov, where 
they will be available to Internet users. You may review DOT's complete 
Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 
2000, at 65 FR 19477. For access to the docket to read background 
documents and comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at 
any time, or to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, Washington, 
DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal Holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dwayne Weeks, FTA Office of Planning 
and Environment, telephone (202) 366-4033 or Dwayne.Weeks@dot.gov; or 
Harlan Miller, FHWA Office of Planning, telephone (202) 366-0847 or 
Harlan.Miller@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The FTA and FHWA are jointly issuing this proposed policy guidance 
on the implementation of 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 
5303(d)(2)(B), which require representation by providers of public 
transportation in each MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA. The 
FTA and FHWA anticipate issuing a joint notice of proposed rulemaking 
to amend 23 CFR part 450 to implement 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 
U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B) as amended by sections 1201 and 20005 of MAP-21. 
These United States Code sections now require representation by 
providers of public transportation in each MPO that serves an area 
designated as a TMA. A TMA is defined as an urbanized area with a 
population of over 200,000 individuals as determined by the 2010 
census, or an urbanized area with a population of fewer than 200,000 
individuals that is designated as a TMA by the request of the Governor 
and the MPO designated for the area.\1\ As of the date of this 
guidance, of the 384 MPOs throughout the Nation, 184 MPOs serve an area 
designated as a TMA.
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    \1\ 23 U.S.C. 134(k)(1); 49 U.S.C. 5303(k)(1).
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    The FTA conducted an On-Line Dialogue on this requirement from 
March 5 through March 29, 2013. Through this forum, FTA received input 
from MPOs, local elected officials, transit agencies, and the general 
public, with over 3,000 visits to the Web site. Over 100 ideas were 
submitted from 340 registered users who also provided hundreds of 
comments and votes on these ideas. Participants discussed the complex 
nature of MPOs and the advantages of providing flexibility for MPOs and 
transit providers to decide locally how to include representation by 
providers of public transportation in the MPO.
    To increase the accountability and transparency of the Federal-aid 
highway and Federal transit programs and to improve project decision-
making through performance-based planning and programming, MAP-21 
establishes a performance management framework. The MAP-21 requires 
FHWA to establish, through a separate rulemaking, performance measures 
and standards to be used by States to assess the condition of the 
pavements and bridges, serious injuries and fatalities, performance of 
the Interstate System and National Highway System, traffic congestion, 
on-road mobile source emissions, and freight movement on the Interstate 
System.\2\ The MAP-21 also requires FTA to establish, through separate 
rulemakings, state of good repair and safety performance measures, and 
requires each provider of public transportation to establish 
performance targets in relation to these performance measures.\3\
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    \2\ 23 U.S.C. 150(c).
    \3\ 49 U.S.C. 5326(b), (c), 5329(b), (d).
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    To ensure consistency, an MPO must coordinate to the maximum extent 
practicable with the State and providers of public transportation to 
establish performance targets for the metropolitan planning area that 
address these performance measures.\4\ An MPO must describe in its 
metropolitan transportation plans the performance measures and targets 
used to assess the performance of its transportation system.\5\ 
Statewide and metropolitan transportation improvement programs (STIPs 
and TIPs) must include, to the maximum extent practicable, a 
description of the anticipated effect of the program toward achieving 
the performance targets established in the statewide or metropolitan 
transportation plan, linking investment priorities and the highway and 
transit performance targets.\6\ These changes to the planning process 
will be addressed in FHWA and FTA's anticipated joint rulemaking 
amending 23 CFR part 450.
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    \4\ 23 U.S.C. 134(h)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(h)(2).
    \5\ 23 U.S.C. 134(i)(2)(B); 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(2)(B).
    \6\ 23 U.S.C. 134(j)(2)(D); 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(2)(D) (TIPs) and 
23 U.S.C. 135(g)(4); 49 U.S.C. 5304(g)(4) (STIPs).
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    As part of its performance management framework, MAP-21 assigns 
MPOs the new transit related responsibilities described above, i.e., to 
establish performance targets with respect to transit state of good 
repair and transit safety and to address these targets in their 
transportation plans and TIPs. Representation by providers of public 
transportation in each MPO that serves a TMA will better enable the MPO 
to define performance targets and to develop plans and TIPs that 
support an intermodal transportation system for the metropolitan area. 
Including representation by providers of public transportation in each 
MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA is an essential element of 
MAP-21's performance management framework and will support the 
successful implementation of a performance-based approach to 
transportation decisionmaking.
    The FTA and FHWA seek comment on the following proposals in this 
guidance: the determination of specifically designated representatives, 
the eligibility of representatives of providers of public 
transportation to

[[Page 60017]]

serve as specifically designated representatives, and the cooperative 
process to select a specifically designated representative in MPOs with 
multiple providers of public transportation. There is wide variation in 
transit agency representation among MPOs and in the governance 
structure of MPOs throughout the country. To accommodate the many 
existing models of transit agency representation on MPO boards, this 
proposed guidance proposes flexible approaches for MPOs and providers 
of public transportation to work together to meet this requirement.

II. Specifically Designated Representatives

    MAP-21 requires that by October 1, 2014, MPOs that serve an area 
designated as a TMA must include local elected officials; officials of 
public agencies that administer or operate major modes of 
transportation in the metropolitan area, including representation by 
providers of public transportation; and appropriate State officials.\7\ 
The requirement to include ``representation by providers of public 
transportation'' is a new requirement under MAP-21. The FHWA and FTA 
construe that the intent of this provision is that representatives of 
providers of public transportation, once designated, will have equal 
decision-making rights and authorities as other members listed in 23 
U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B) that are on the policy 
board of an MPO that serves a TMA. This expectation reflects the long-
standing position of FHWA and FTA with respect to statutorily required 
MPO board members.\8\
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    \7\ 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2).
    \8\ While this guidance specifically addresses the new 
requirement for representation by providers of public 
transportation, all MPOs that serve a TMA must consist of local 
elected officials; officials of public agencies that administer or 
operate major modes of transportation in the metropolitan area, 
including representation by providers of public transportation; and 
appropriate State officials by October 1, 2014. 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2); 
49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2). Only those MPOs acting pursuant to authority 
created under State law that was in effect on December 18, 1991, 
that meet the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(3) and 49 U.S.C. 
5303(d)(3), are exempt.
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    A public transportation representative on an MPO board is referred 
to herein as the ``specifically designated representative.'' A 
specifically designated representative should be an elected official or 
a direct representative employed by the agency being represented, such 
as a member of a public transportation provider's board of directors, 
or a senior transit agency official like a chief executive officer or a 
general manager.

III. Providers of Public Transportation

    This guidance proposes that only representation by providers of 
public transportation that operate in a TMA and are direct recipients 
\9\ of the Urbanized Area Formula Funding program \10\ will satisfy 23 
U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B).
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    \9\ A direct recipient is defined as a public entity that is 
legally eligible under Federal transit law to apply for and receive 
grants directly from FTA.
    \10\ 49 U.S.C. 5307.
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IV. Process for the Selection of Specifically Designated 
Representatives

    The FTA and FHWA's Metropolitan Transportation Planning rule at 23 
CFR 450.314 provides for metropolitan planning agreements in which 
MPOs, States, and providers of public transportation cooperatively 
determine their mutual responsibilities in carrying out the 
metropolitan transportation planning process. This guidance proposes 
that MPOs that serve an area designated as a TMA should cooperate with 
providers of public transportation and the State to amend their 
metropolitan planning agreements to include the cooperative process for 
selecting the specifically designated representative(s) for inclusion 
on the MPO board and for identifying the representative's role and 
responsibilities.

V. Role of the Specifically Designated Representative

    To the extent that an MPO has bylaws, the MPO should, in 
consultation with transit providers in the TMA, develop bylaws that 
describe the establishment, roles, and responsibilities of the 
specifically designated representative. These bylaws should explain the 
process by which the specifically designated representative will 
identify transit-related issues for consideration by the full MPO 
policy board and verify that transit priorities are considered in 
planning products to be adopted by the MPO. In TMAs with multiple 
providers of public transportation, the bylaws also should outline how 
the specifically designated representative(s) will consider the needs 
of all eligible \11\ providers of public transportation and address 
issues that are relevant to the responsibilities of the MPO.
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    \11\ Eligible transit agencies are those that are direct 
recipients of the Urbanized Area Formula Funding program, 49 U.S.C. 
5307, and operate in a TMA.
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VI. Restructuring MPOs To Include Representation by Providers of Public 
Transportation

    Title 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(5)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(5)(B) provide 
that an MPO may be restructured to meet MAP-21's representation 
requirements without having to secure the agreement of the Governor and 
units of general purpose government as part of a redesignation.
    There are multiple providers of public transportation within most 
TMAs. In large MPOs that include numerous municipal jurisdictions and 
multiple providers of public transportation, FTA and FHWA expect that 
it would not be practical to allocate separate representation to each 
provider of public transportation. Consequently, this guidance proposes 
that an MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA that has multiple 
providers of public transportation should cooperate \12\ with the 
eligible providers to determine how the MPO will include representation 
by providers of public transportation.
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    \12\ Cooperation means that the parties involved in carrying out 
the transportation planning and programming processes work together 
to achieve a common goal or objective. 23 CFR 450.104.
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    There are various approaches to meeting this requirement. For 
example, an MPO may allocate a single board position to eligible 
providers of public transportation collectively, providing that one 
specifically designated representative must be agreed upon through the 
cooperative process. The requirement for specifically designated 
representation might also be met by rotating the board position among 
all eligible providers or by providing all eligible providers with 
proportional representation. However the representation is ultimately 
designated, the MPO should provide specifics of the designation in its 
bylaws, to the extent it has bylaws.
    Apart from the requirement for specifically designated 
representation on the MPO's board, an MPO also may allow for transit 
representation on policy or technical committees. Eligible providers of 
public transportation not given decision-making rights on the MPO's 
board may hold positions on policy or technical committees.
    The FHWA and FTA encourage MPOs, State Departments of 
Transportation, local stakeholders, and transit providers to take this 
opportunity to determine the most effective governance and 
institutional arrangements to best serve the interests of the 
metropolitan planning area.

Peter Rogoff,
FTA Administrator.
Victor M. Mendez,
FHWA Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-23780 Filed 9-27-13; 8:45 am]
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