Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning
The FHWA and FTA are jointly issuing this final rule to update the regulations governing the development of metropolitan transportation plans (MTP) and programs for urbanized areas, long-range statewide transportation plans and programs, and the congestion management process as well as revisions related to the use of and reliance on planning products developed during the planning process for project development and the environmental review process. The changes reflect the passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The MAP-21 continues many provisions related to transportation planning from prior laws; however, it introduces transformational changes and adds some new provisions. The FAST Act makes minor edits to existing provisions. The changes make the regulations consistent with current statutory requirements and implement the following: A new mandate for State departments of transportation (hereafter referred to simply as ``States'') and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to take a performance-based approach to planning and programming; a new emphasis on the nonmetropolitan transportation planning process, by requiring States to have a higher level of involvement with nonmetropolitan local officials and providing a process for the creation of regional transportation planning organizations (RTPO); a structural change to the membership of the larger MPOs; a new framework for voluntary scenario planning; new authority for the integration of the planning and environmental review processes; and a process for programmatic mitigation plans.