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15 CHAPTER THREE STATE OF THE PRACTICE FOR ADDRESSING TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM REVISIONS The preceding chapters described the TIP revision process status and as appropriate impacts of conformity analysis and time lines of various stages of that process. The follow- on process schedule; TIP amendment and modification pro- ing paragraphs highlight some of the findings from the 10 cedures; and triggers for a TIP revision. Every MPO was case examples conducted for this study. The methodology for also asked specific questions tailored to that MPO in order selecting and conducting the MPO cases is discussed first. to generate clarity or additional information related to prior survey responses. SUMMARY OF METROPOLITAN PLANNING Appendix B contains the complete notes from each tele- ORGANIZATION CASE EXAMPLES phone interview. The following paragraphs summarize the findings from the MPO case examples, surveys, and litera- To delve more deeply into the challenges now faced in the ture review. TIP revision process, as well as to gain further insight on the responses that individual MPOs may contribute toward answering those challenges, 10 brief case examples were VOLUME AND FREQUENCY OF REVISIONS developed based on telephone interviews to supplement the findings of the literature review and MPO survey. The selec- One MPO requested as many as 300 to 1,000 TIP changes tion of the MPO cases was based on three factors: (1) affir- per month; other MPOs also cited volumes of changes in the mative responses when asked in the MPO survey instrument hundreds in some fiscal quarters. Owing to external circum- if they would be willing to participate in a follow-up inter- stances such as the economy, ARRA, other grant programs, view; (2) geographic, air quality, and size diversity among air quality, and shifts in transportation priorities, the TIP the case studies; and (3) survey responses indicating that the has become a more dynamic document. With so many fac- MPO was employing innovative measures in its TIP modi- tors to consider, MPOs are struggling to limit both major fication process that could be of interest to other MPOs. The and minor changes to projects. Some MPOs have success- following 10 MPOs were chosen for case examples: fully used forms and database technologies to manage TIP changes. For example, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Atlanta Regional Commission (Atlanta, GA) Planning (CMAP) has developed an online database tool for Capital District Transportation Committee (Albany, recording and even processing administrative amendments, NY) and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has plans to do Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission the same after the next TIP update. These tools allow revi- (Worcester, MA) sion sponsors (typically state DOTs, local governments, or Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (Chicago, other members of the MPO trigger the revision) to log in and IL) suggest changes to the MPO staff, which then determines Community Planning Association (Boise, ID) the level of process required to complete the revision. Sys- DuluthSuperior Metropolitan Interstate Council tems such as these also hold project sponsors more account- (Duluth, MN) able for the changes they make to projects, as they are the Missoula MPO (Missoula, MT) ones responsible for filling out the paperwork. North Central Texas Council of Governments (Dallas, TX) A second and more common way that MPOs are handling Wasatch Front Regional Planning Commission (Salt the large number of TIP revisions generated by ARRA is to Lake City, UT) group a number of revisions together for processing at a single Wilmington Area Metropolitan Planning Council series of MPO meetings (technical and policy boards). ARC (Wilmington, DE) has migrated to a quarterly system of processing administra- tive modifications, and is pushing the same for amendments Each MPO was asked the same baseline questions for as well. The staff at ARC reports good, albeit gradual, accep- comparison purposes: population; air quality conformity tance of the quarterly update system. Predictable update