EASTERN SHORE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION
THE EASTERN SHORE – July 24, 2013 – The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board held a meeting on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in the Loxley Town Hall Auditorium in Loxley, Alabama. The Policy Board is the governing body of the MPO.
Important items of new business considered by the MPO included the approval of resolutions adopting the FY 2014 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) and FY 2014 Cost Allocation Plan (CAP); approval of a resolution adopting the Final 2013 Public Participation Plan; and approval of a resolution adopting the Project Submittal Process and establishing project lists for the Long Range Transportation Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program.
The Unified Planning Work Program is the planning and administrative budget of the Eastern Shore MPO. The MPO receives $174,661 in Planning Funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). The Baldwin County Commission provides the entire 20% local match for the federal Planning Funds giving the MPO an annual planning budget of $218,326. The MPO planning dollars are allocated to twenty-five different “Tasks” or subtasks within the UPWP, including Public Participation Process; Public Transportation; Bike/Ped Planning, and Transportation Safety.
The Cost Allocation Plan specifies how expenses incurred by the MPO will be allocated to the various tasks and subtasks delineated in the UPWP. The new CAP provides great detail including an illustrated example for citizens who would like to understand how MPO costs are billed, and how the MPO accounts for items such as overhead and indirect expenses. The Policy Board voted unanimously to approve the Draft FY 2014 Unified Planning Work Program and the FY 2014 Cost Allocation Plan.
The Policy Board approved the Draft 2013 Public Participation Plan at its January 23, 2013 meeting (Resolution 2013-02). The MPO awaited final directives from ALDOT regarding new requirements for the Public Participation Plan under MAP-21 (the new federal highway bill) before producing the Final Public Participation Plan. The MPO received directives from ALDOT in May and incorporated these changes into the Final Plan. The MPO published the Final Plan for public comment for forty-five days at nineteen (19) locations throughout the MPO planning area and responded to any public comments. The Policy Board voted unanimously to approve the Final 2013 Public Participation Plan.
The Policy Board also considered a resolution that would establish three project lists and a Project Submittal Process by which citizens and local municipalities can recommend transportation projects to the Policy Board. The six step process would help to collect basic information including the scope and estimated cost for any proposed project.
Any submitted project that is sponsored by a local municipality will be presented to the MPO Advisory Committees. Each Committee will make a recommendation to the Policy Board regarding whether or not the project should be added to the MPO project lists. The Policy Board has sole authority to make the final decision regarding a proposed project. More information regarding the project submittal process will be made available on the MPO website in the weeks ahead. The Policy Board voted unanimously to approve the Project Submittal Guidelines and establish the MPO project lists.
The Policy Board considered recommendations from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) regarding a proposed letter of support for the I-10 (Mobile River) bridge project. The Policy Board voted unanimously (with one abstention) to follow the TAC’s recommendation and approve the letter with language encouraging consideration of a multimodal facility on the proposed bridge with an understanding that any such facility must be balanced against the overall feasibility of the project.
The Policy Board considered many other items of business including filling two vacant positions on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Baldwin County; authorizing the MPO to negotiate a formal contract with the University of Alabama in Huntsville to provide oversight for the MPO travel demand model; considering the Tensaw Parkway Corridor Management Plan proposal; and reviewing the proposed 2014 ALDOT TIGER grant for ADA curb-ramp retrofitting.
The MPO will host a joint meeting of the Policy Board and all Advisory Committees at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. The primary purpose of this meeting will be to hold elections for Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for FY 2014. For more information regarding the Eastern Shore MPO please visit www.easternshorempo.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.