Indiana and Illinois Senators Call for Extending Comment Period for Proposed Rule on Metropolitan Planning Organizations

INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) today urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to grant a 60-day extension of the comment period for a proposed rule that could affect the way neighboring metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) interact. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the senators expressed concern that rather than improve coordination between Chicago and Northwest Indiana MPOs, the change could undermine the existing cooperative relationship between the two organizations.  

We are concerned the current proposed rule would fundamentally change the long-established cooperative working relationships between MPOs in our states and setback efforts to successfully coordinate transportation planning and investments in our region,” wrote the senators. “Instead of improving coordination, our MPOs and State Departments of Transportation have expressed serious concerns that the proposed rule may in fact do the opposite, risking the cooperative and effective relationships our MPOs already enjoy and creating unintended difficulties for their governance structure, their comprehensive planning development, and the funding and selection of transportation projects in Illinois and Indiana. 

Full text of the letter is below: 

The Honorable Anthony Foxx

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

                                                                                   

RE: Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform Notice of

Proposed Rulemaking

[Docket No. FHWA-2016-0016; FHWA RIN 2125-AF68; FTA RIN 2132-AB28]

 

Dear Secretary Foxx: 

 

We request a 60 day extension for the comment period of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed rule regarding Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Coordination and Planning Area Reform.  The proposed rule would significantly impact the way transportation planning and funding is conducted in our states, and it is clear that our constituent stakeholders need more time to weigh in with substantive comments. 

We are concerned the current proposed rule would fundamentally change the long-established cooperative working relationships between MPOs in our states and setback efforts to successfully coordinate transportation planning and investments in our region. For example, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) currently sit on each other’s transportation committees, their staffs regularly attend meetings, and their Executive Directors meet quarterly. Instead of improving coordination, our MPOs and State Departments of Transportation have expressed serious concerns that the proposed rule may in fact do the opposite, risking the cooperative and effective relationships our MPOs already enjoy and creating unintended difficulties for their governance structure, their comprehensive planning development, and the funding and selection of transportation projects in Illinois and Indiana.  

We agree with the goal of greater regional coordination between our nation’s MPOs. However, the proposed rule presents significant risks for our constituents, and the 60-day comment period is not sufficient for all parties to participate meaningfully in this important rulemaking.  We respectfully and jointly request that U.S. DOT extend the comment period for the proposed coordination rule from 60 days to at least 120 days.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

Check Also

Arrest Made for the Murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German

Carroll County – After an extensive investigation, the Delphi Double Homicide Task Force made an …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *