"The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) requires (1) the states and MPOs to cooperatively develop estimates of funds that will be made available to support plan implementation, and (2) the MPO, the state and public transit agency to cooperatively develop estimates of funds that are reasonably expected to be available to support program implementation."
"The state of Arizona and Maricopa County have worked to make this statement a reality" -- James Bourey Executive Director Maricopa County Association of Governments.
COOPERATIVE REVENUE FORECASTING AND ANNUAL LISTINGS OF OBLIGATED PROJECTS
The Arizona DOT began the process by trying to work with the MPOs to develop cooperative estimates and program projects. They worked to develop forecasts for all types of revenues, including lump sums such as bridges and pavements, and to agree on the distribution of those funds. But the negotiations were difficult and it became clear that a new approach was needed. A regional meeting was held to develop a new cooperative revenue forecasting process in which there would
The process for developing cooperative revenue forecasting in Arizona has gone through some growing pains but the resulting changes that have occurred in the statewide process has the support of the stakeholders. Partnering sessions between the State DOT and MPOs have helped MPOs to have access to state data and to facilitate discussions that are now project based rather than the more traditional context of broader programs and the larger context of the system. For program needs, accident rates and volume/capacity data and allocated money based on data are used. The staff who vote on the program know that the decisions may limit their ability to get specific projects to their area or region. This process allows effectiveness to be measured but also allows room for negotiation on what's reasonable and what may be supported practically and politically.People may hesitate to place too much emphasis on data should it threaten projects in which they have a special interest.
Lessons learned from MPO perspective:
The regional meeting produced the following outcomes, which fundamentally changed the relationship between the MPOs and the State DOT:
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The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) in Seattle is the largest MPO in Washington State. The region has a population of approximately 3.3 million and approximately $1.7 billion in transportation revenues. Sixteen percent of total revenues in the region come from federal funds. In 1990, the State Growth Management Act required all cities and counties to do a comprehensive plan (including a financial component) as well as a regional plan consistent with comprehensive plan. The legislative direction is reaffirmed in their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and revenue forecasting is therefore a required element of the process. In 1994, the stakeholders formed a committee to develop the revenue-forecasting model for the metropolitan transportation plan and it was adopted in 1995.
In Washington, state and regional forecasting processes are similar. State law requires the collection of data into a database containing current and historical financial data. The model used for a tax base also feeds into land use models and forecasts are updated regularly. This process significantly contributes to the consistency amongst different plans such as at the regional and city level. Financial issues drive the planning process, but revenue forecasts are not the focus. Discussions instead revolve around what investments are being made in the transportation system and where the priorities are for investments.
Defining what a "listing" means under TEA-21 requirements remains unclear to many MPOs. As a result, some MPOs are either not doing an annual listing of obligated projects because they don’t know what it is or if they are doing it, they are doing it incorrectly. There is a wide variety with both the way listings are formatted and the details that are included. Some MPOs (such as Missouri) developed versions of annual listings existed prior to TEA-21. The bottom line is that success depends upon a good working relationship between the SDOT and the MPO.Springfield Area Transportation Study Organization
The Springfield Area Transportation Study (SATS) is a relatively small MPO in Missouri. In Springfield, the three-year transportation improvement program (TIP) is updated annually. Every project whether it is state, local, or federally funded, is included in the TIP. Springfield had a population of approximately 159,000 according to the 1990 census and expects the 2000 census to indicate a population of over 200,000 in the urban area and around 300,000 in the entire planning area.
SATS gets feedback on project listings at the subcommittee level. The technical staff represents different jurisdictions and must cooperate with each other to resolve conflicts that may arise over projects. The AMPO study identified a range of approaches to address this issue. Very few places are taking active steps to disseminate lists of obligated projects and the information is not distributed in a fashion like a newsletter or a TIP as Metroplan, the MPO in Orlando, does.
In August of last year, AMPO conducted a survey of MPO practices on cooperative revenue forecasting. In particular, the goal was to see to what extent revenue forecasting is a cooperative process between the MPO, state DOT and transit authorities. The survey also asked about how available funding was derived and whether the level of funding or information about how it was derived was an issue in discussion of the Long Range Transportation Plans. More than half of the responding MPOs felt that the process is a cooperative one, with about 25 percent of these MPOs having executed formal Memorandum of Understandings. About a third reported that revenues were an issue in public discussions of Long Range Transportation Plans.