Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPO)
In 1990, the Washington State Legislature authorized the formation of Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPO) whose purpose is to plan the development and use of regional transportation facilities and service. An RTPO is created through the voluntary association of local governments within a region. Member jurisdiction within an RTPO determine their own structures to ensure equitable representation among local governments and to allow flexibility across the state.
Each RTPO must establish a Transportation Policy Board whose membership includes, but is not limited to: representatives from member counties, cities and towns; major employers; the Department of Transportation; transit providers; and port districts within the region. Technical Advisory Committees are encouraged. The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council (WVTC), in cooperation with the North Central Regional Transportation Planning Organization (NCRTPO) is responsible for coordinating long-range transportation planning in the three county region of Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties.
What is an RTPO?
The primary function of RTPOs are to develop regional plans and policies for transportation, growth management, environmental quality, and other topics determined by the RTPO; provide data and analysis to support local and regional decision making; build community consensus on regional issues through information and citizen involvement; build intergovernmental consensus on regional plans, policies and issues, and advocate local implementation; and provide planning and technical services on a contractual basis.
North Central Region Regional Transportation Planning Organizations:
- WSDOT North Central Region RTPO
Counties - Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan
Chair - Wendell Black, Mayor of Entiat
Staff Contact: Jeff Wilkens, (509) 663-9059, Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council, 300 South Columbia, 3rd Floor, Wenatchee, WA 98801
- Quad-Country RTPO
Counties - Lincoln, Kittitas, Grant, Adams
Chair - Obie O’Brien, Kittitas County Commissioner
Staff Contact: Jan Ollivier, (509) 962-7523, Kittitas County Public Works, 411 North Ruby Street, Suite 1, Ellensburg, WA 98926
What is an MPO?
A Metropolitan Planning Organization is an organization of elected officials in urbanized regions with a population of 50,000 or over. They provide a forum for local decision-making on transportation issues of a regional nature. Under TEA-21, the MPOs objective is to "encourage and promote the development of transportation systems embracing various modes of transportation in a manner which will efficiently maximize the mobility of people and goods within and through urbanized areas and minimize transportation-related fuel consumption and air pollution."
As a condition for receipt of federal capital or operating assistance, MPOs must have a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process. The MPOs are to cooperate with the state in developing transportation plans and programs for urbanized areas. This transportation planning process is to result in plans and programs consistent with the urbanized area's comprehensive planned development. In addition, the plans are to provide for the development of transportation facilities (including pedestrian walkways and bicycle facilities) and serve as an intermodal system for the state, metropolitan areas and the nation.
Under the federal legislation, the MPO boundary is to consist of the existing urbanized area and the projected 20-year growth area. It must include air quality nonattainment areas. In addition, the legislation emphasized a comprehensive, multimodal, and coordinated planning program in development of the transportation plan.
The MPOs planning functions are carried out in cooperation with the state and local agencies. An MPO can contract staff from other agencies to perform specific elements in the planning process. This cooperative transportation decision-making process provides a forum for the member jurisdictions to discuss regional transportation issues and plan transportation improvements for the region. Currently, eight regional councils perform the MPO transportation planning functions in Washington, representing the urbanized areas of the state.
The Greater Wenatchee Area
It is estimated that the population of the greater Wenatchee urban area will exceed 50,000 people following the year 2000 census. As a result the area will become an MPO. A working group is currently studying the formation of an MPO.
The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council (WVTC), in cooperation with the North Central Regional Transportation Planning Organization (NCRTPO) is responsible for coordinating long-range transportation planning in the three county region of Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties.
For more information, contact WVTC or Bill Gould, Asst. Regional Planning Engineer, (509) 667-2909.