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5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION This chapter provides background information on this syn- 53 Title 49 U.S.C., as well as projects that are regionally sig- thesis topic, the purpose of the synthesis, and the methodol- nificant or require federal action. The TIP is updated at least ogy used to conduct the study. every 4 years, and covers a 4-year period of transportation investments. The projects listed in the TIP are chosen based on a set of criteria established by the MPO; have been vetted BACKGROUND through a public participation process; are financially con- strained; and have been coordinated with the state depart- Under the current United States Code (Title 23 U.S.C. Part ment of transportation (DOT) to ensure consistency with the 450), a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), as state- and federally designated entity responsible for over- well as local transit operators, land use entities, and environ- seeing regional transportation planning for a metropolitan mental resource agencies. The TIP is then approved by the planning area with a minimum urbanized area population of MPO governing board, which is composed of elected offi- 50,000 people, as enumerated by the Bureau of the Census. cials from different jurisdictions and transportation opera- MPOs range in size from places such as Ames, Iowa, with tors throughout the planning region. After that, the TIP is 51,000 people, to Los Angeles, California, which has more approved by the state governor and then is directly incorpo- than 16 million people in its planning region. Regardless of rated, without change, into the STIP. The STIP requires joint size or complexity, all MPOs have the same basic transporta- approval from the FHWA and FTA (1). tion planning requirements. All MPOs need to comply with federal requirements concerning the metropolitan transpor- Projects, priorities, or funding levels may change within tation planning process. This includes completing the four this 4-year timeframe. For example, the American Recovery following major work products on a cyclical basis: and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided more than $26 billion in new money for transportation projects. These A long-range (20-year) metropolitan transportation projects typically had to be amended into the MPO TIP and plan (MTP) or long-range transportation plan (LRTP); the STIP before they could proceed. A short-range (4-year) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP); Once the TIP is adopted and incorporated into the STIP, A statement of planning priorities and activities it takes specific actions to revise both the TIP and the STIP, (Unified Planning Work Program); and and federal approval of those actions is needed to complete A public participation plan that frequently includes the process. There are two basic ways to revise a TIP once it language on how TIP revisions are to be coordinated has been adopted. The first is referred to as an administrative with process stakeholders and the general public. modification (also called an adjustment, revision, correction, or administrative amendment). An administrative modifica- Additional responsibilities are assigned to MPOs with tion is a minor change to a TIP project, such as to its phase populations of more than 200,000 or those in an area des- costs, funding sources, or phase initiation dates. This adjust- ignated as not conforming to federal air quality standards. ment is usually the quickest means of changing a TIP. The These additional responsibilities include external federal second way is through a formal amendment, which involves certification reviews, air quality conformity analyses and a major change to the TIP such as addition or deletion of a reporting, direct programming authority of some federal project, a major change in the project cost or initiation dates, funds, and the creation of a congestion management process or a major change in the design concept or design scope. to identify sources of congestion and mitigation options. Amendments require a public review and comment period, This report does not delve into the various ways in which a redemonstration of fiscal constraint, and potentially an air a TIP is developed but instead explores how revisions are quality conformity determination (if in a maintenance or non- made to an adopted TIP. attainment area) for the proposed change to be considered. The TIP is a programming document that lists all trans- Outside of the general definitions given in federal regula- portation projects funded under Title 23 U.S.C. and Chapter tions (Title 23 U.S.C. 450.104), there is little detailed guid-