What is a Regional Transportation Agency?
A Regional Transportation Agency, also known as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), is a public organization encompassing a multi-jurisdictional regional community. With state and locally-defined boundaries, they serve the local governments and citizens in the region by dealing with issues and needs that cross city, town, county and even state boundaries. Mechanisms used to address these issues may include communication, planning, policy making, coordination, advocacy, and technical issues.
Conceived in the 1960s, regional councils today are stable, broad-based organizations proficient at consensus-building, creating partnerships, providing services, problem solving and fiscal management. The role of a RTPA/MPO has been shaped by the changing dynamics in federal, state and local government relations, and the growing recognition that the region is the arena in which local governments must work together to resolve social and environmental challenges. RTPA’s/MPO’s have proven themselves as reliable agents and many take on projects which are independent of federal funding. Transportation planning, economic development,, the environment, and clearinghouse functions are among the types of programs managed by RTPA’s/MPO’s.