Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Here Is The SEWRPC Certification Executive Summary

The entire 30+page report is worth reading, but here is the executive summary:


At least every four years the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit

Administration (FTA) must jointly certify that the metropolitan transportation planning process

carried out by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) in Transportation Management Areas

(TMA) is being carried out in accordance with applicable provisions of Federal law.

The certification is not just a review of the MPO or the MPO staff, but rather covers all of the

agencies (local governments, State, and transit operators) that are charged with cooperatively

carrying out the process on a daily basis.

The regulatory foundation for the Certification Review supports the goal of enhancing the quality of the transportation planning process. Certification is based on routine FHWA and FTA interaction in day-to-day MPO operations,

participation in planning studies and the development of required planning products, periodic

meetings with staff, topical review activities, and the detailed review of the overall transportation

planning process.

Specific review activities conducted as the basis for this determination relative to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) included a desk review of SEWRPC planning products and processes conducted in September 2008, a field review meeting with staff from SEWRPC, WisDOT, and local transit operators October 22-23,

2008, a public comment period from October 8 – November 8, 2008, and an open house/public

meeting on the evening of October 22, 2008.

The full report documents evaluation of SEWRPC planning practices relative to basic elements

specified in federal metropolitan transportation planning regulations. Public comments were

considered in the evaluation of the corresponding planning elements. The report provides the

foundation for the joint FHWA-FTA determination regarding certification.

Overall, FHWA and FTA find that SEWRPC is in compliance with federal metropolitan

transportation planning requirements. The SEWRPC transportation planning process provides

comprehensive information and analysis that serve as a solid basis for policy decisions to guide

investments in transportation that serve the needs of Southeastern Wisconsin.

The certification findings cite good practices and recommendations in a number of areas to more fully meet the

objectives attendant to federal goals and requirements and to enhance the effectiveness of the

metropolitan transportation planning process.

Good practices cited include the following:

Strong support for transit, including advocacy for development of a sustainable dedicated

source for local funding; and

Extensive outreach to involve environmental resource agencies in transportation plan

development and account for impacts of plan alternatives on the natural and manmade


Key recommendations for improvements include the following areas:

Public Communication and Access to Information

Update the structure and organization of the SEWRPC website and adopt plain language,

visual and concise styles and formats for summary documents and public

communications of key issues, analyses, and policy decisions;

Effectiveness of Public Involvement

Develop and document a public participation evaluation methodology outlining specific

public participation objectives with corresponding measures and procedures to guide

evaluation and refinement of techniques to improve the effectiveness of public

involvement for transportation planning activities, including targeted outreach to minority

and low income communities;

Outreach to Minority and Low Income Communities

Continue to cultivate established relationships with minority and low income groups and

the EJTF, work with the groups to further interaction with other groups within the

minority and low income communities, and provide feedback on how their input is used

in transportation planning processes; and

Congestion Management Process

Fully develop the CMP to further function as a mechanism to develop and prioritize a

regional program of projects that implement the congestion management strategies.

The FHWA and FTA find that the broad context of federal public involvement and Title VI

requirements provides opportunity to examine the public expectations expressed in comments

and consider appropriate changes to improve SEWRPC metropolitan transportation planning.

The certification recommendations listed herein recognize SEWRPC’s past willingness to

consider critique of their processes and improve their practices to address valid concerns.

Responsibility for these improvements falls on SEWRPC, the local governments, WisDOT, and

the transit operators, as well as the concerned citizens, interest groups, and public officials who

seek changes. FHWA and FTA expect to be closely involved in monitoring implementation of

these recommendations to better understand the basis for the concerns, interest, and commitment

of all parties to constructively improve the processes.

Based on the reviews conducted and ongoing oversight by FHWA and FTA, the Southeastern

Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s transportation planning process is certified as

meeting the transportation planning requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134 and 49 U.S.C. 5303.

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