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Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 created the requirement for urban transportation planning, largely in response to the construction of the Interstate Highway System and the planning of routes through and around urban areas. This was the first legislative mandate requiring planning as a condition to receiving federal transportation funds. The Act required that transportation projects in urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in population be based on a continuing, comprehensive transportation planning process undertaken cooperatively by the states and local governments – also known as the “3C” (continuing, comprehensive and cooperative) planning process.

At the time, qualified planning agencies were lacking in many urban areas. Therefore, the Bureau of Public Roads (predecessor to the Federal Highway Administration) required the creation of entities that would be capable of carrying out the required transportation planning process. Hence, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) quickly came into being due to the rapid growth of the highway system and the federal financing of the planning process.

The most recent transportation legislation passed December 2015, Fixing America's Surface Transportation act, (FAST Act) strengthened the role of MPOs, required stakeholder involvement, encouraged a multi-modal approach to transportation planning and identified eleven specific “planning factors” which are the foundation for the goals and objectives of this plan. The FAST Act largely maintains current program structures and funding shares between highways and transit. It is a down-payment for building a 21st century transportation system.

Click here for more details on the FAST Act