The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) is the state-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), responsible for administering continuous and comprehensive transportation planning for this region. SMTC’s planning jurisdiction, called the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA), covers Onondaga County, the Town of Sullivan in Madison County, and the Towns of Hastings, Schroeppel, West Monroe and a small portion of Granby in Oswego County. As the MPO, the SMTC provides the forum for cooperative decision making in the development of transportation plans, programs and recommendations. The SMTC also provides an opportunity for citizens to participate in the discussion of specific transportation issues and projects, and encourages the public to get involved in the public involvement opportunities available.
What is an MPO?
An MPO is a federally required transportation planning body comprised of elected and appointed officials representing local, state and federal governments or agencies having interest or responsibility in transportation planning and programming. An MPO is responsible for the development of a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for its metropolitan planning area. The adoption of these documents is a prerequisite for the receipt of both federal highway and federal transit funding.
What does an MPO do?
The MPO discusses and votes on multi-modal transportation issues of region-wide significance, and decides which local transportation projects should be implemented. One of the ways in which this is accomplished is through adoption of the Long Range Transportation Plan that is updated routinely. Based on the needs identified through the long range planning process, the MPO develops and adopts a priority list of planning projects for completion each year. This annual process is called the UPWP.
The 1962 Federal Aid Highway Act mandated that all urbanized areas with a population over 50,000 establish a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (referred to as “3C”) planning process. The 1974 Federal Aid Highway Act mandated the creation of an MPO in each area required to have a 3C planning process. Funding for an MPO is provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. An MPO is required to periodically undergo a Federal certification process to ensure that it is adequately meeting Federal mandates.