[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 105 (Monday, June 2, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31214-31219]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-12163]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

49 CFR Part 613

Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 450

[Docket No. FTA-2013-0029]


Policy Guidance on Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 
Representation

AGENCIES: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Policy guidance.

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SUMMARY: The FTA and FHWA are jointly issuing this guidance on 
implementation of provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 
21st Century Act (MAP-21), that require representation by providers of 
public transportation in each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) 
that serves a transportation management area (TMA) no later than 
October 1, 2014. The purpose of this guidance is to assist MPOs and 
providers of public transportation in complying with this new 
requirement.

DATES: Effective June 2, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dwayne Weeks, FTA Office of Planning 
and Environment, telephone (202) 366-4033 or Dwayne.Weeks@dot.gov; or 
Harlan Miller, FHWA Office of Planning, telephone (202) 366-0847 or 
Harlan.Miller@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    The FTA and FHWA are jointly issuing this policy guidance on the 
implementation of 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B), 
as amended by sections 1201 and 20005 of MAP-21, Public Law 112-141, 
which require representation by providers of public transportation in 
each MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA by October 1, 2014.\1\ 
A TMA is defined as an urbanized area with a population of over 200,000 
individuals as determined by the 2010 census, or an area with a 
population of fewer than 200,000 individuals that is designated as a 
TMA by the request of the Governor and the MPO designated for the 
area.\2\ As of the date of this guidance, of the approximately 420 MPOs 
throughout the Nation, approximately 210 MPOs serve an area designated 
as a TMA. The FTA and FHWA will issue a joint notice of proposed 
rulemaking to amend 23 CFR part 450 and 49 CFR part 613 to make these 
planning regulations consistent with these and other current statutory 
requirements. Once FTA and FHWA issue a final rule amending the 
planning regulations, MPOs must comply with the requirements in those 
regulations.
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    \1\ ``Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the 
Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012, each metropolitan 
planning organization that serves an area designated as a 
transportation management area shall consist of . . . officials of 
public agencies that administer or operate major modes of 
transportation in the metropolitan area, including representation by 
providers of public transportation.'' 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B). See 
also 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B).
    \2\ 23 U.S.C. 134(k)(1); 49 U.S.C. 5303(k)(1).
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    To increase the accountability and transparency of the Federal-aid 
highway and Federal transit programs and to improve project 
decisionmaking through performance-based planning and programming, MAP-
21 establishes a performance management framework. The MAP-21 requires 
FHWA to establish, through a separate rulemaking, performance measures 
and standards to be used by States to assess the condition of the 
pavements and bridges, serious injuries and fatalities, performance of 
the Interstate System and National Highway System, traffic congestion, 
on-road mobile source emissions, and freight movement on the Interstate 
System.\3\ The MAP-21 also requires FTA to establish, through separate 
rulemakings, state of good repair and safety performance measures, and 
requires each provider of public transportation to establish 
performance targets in relation to these performance measures.\4\
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    \3\ 23 U.S.C. 150(c).
    \4\ 49 U.S.C. 5326(b), (c), 5329(b), (d).
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    To establish performance targets that address these performance 
measures, States and MPOs must coordinate their targets with each other 
to ensure consistency, to the maximum extent practicable.\5\ For 
transit-related performance targets, States and MPOs must coordinate 
their targets relating to safety and state of good repair with 
providers of public transportation to ensure consistency with other 
performance-based provisions applicable to providers of public 
transportation, to the maximum extent practicable.\6\ An MPO must 
describe in its metropolitan transportation plans the performance 
measures and targets used to assess the performance of its 
transportation system.\7\ Statewide and metropolitan transportation

[[Page 31215]]

improvement programs (STIPs and TIPs) must include, to the maximum 
extent practicable, a description of the anticipated effect of the 
program toward achieving the performance targets established in the 
statewide or metropolitan transportation plan, linking investment 
priorities and the highway and transit performance targets.\8\ These 
changes to the planning process will be addressed in FHWA and FTA's 
anticipated joint rulemaking amending 23 CFR part 450 and 49 CFR part 
613.\9\
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    \5\ 23 U.S.C. 134(h)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(h)(2).
    \6\ 23 U.S.C. 134(h)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(h)(2).
    \7\ 23 U.S.C. 134(i)(2)(B); 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(2)(B).
    \8\ 23 U.S.C. 134(j)(2)(D); 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(2)(D) (TIPs) and 
23 U.S.C. 135(g)(4); 49 U.S.C. 5304(g)(4) (STIPs).
    \9\ FHWA RIN 2125-AF52; FTA RIN 2132-AB10.
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    As part of its performance management framework, MAP-21 assigns 
MPOs the new transit-related responsibilities described above, i.e., to 
establish performance targets with respect to transit state of good 
repair and transit safety and to address these targets in their 
transportation plans and TIPs. Representation by providers of public 
transportation in each MPO that serves a TMA will better enable each 
MPO to define performance targets and to develop plans and TIPs that 
support an intermodal transportation system for the metropolitan area. 
Including representation by providers of public transportation in each 
MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA is an essential element of 
MAP-21's performance management framework and will support the 
successful implementation of a performance-based approach to 
transportation decisionmaking.
    The FTA conducted an On-Line Dialogue on the MAP-21 requirement to 
include representation by providers of public transportation in each 
MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA from March 5 through March 
29, 2013. Through this forum, FTA received input from MPOs, local 
elected officials, transit agencies, and the general public, with over 
3,000 visits to the Web site. Over 100 ideas were submitted from 340 
registered users who also provided hundreds of comments and votes on 
these ideas. Participants discussed the complex nature of MPOs and the 
advantages of providing flexibility for MPOs and providers of public 
transportation to decide locally how to include representation by 
providers of public transportation in the MPO.
    To assist MPOs and providers of public transportation in 
understanding and satisfying the new requirement by the statutory 
deadline, FTA and FHWA issued proposed policy guidance for review and 
comment on September 30, 2013, with a 30-day comment period, under 
Docket Number FTA-2013-0029.\10\ The FTA and FHWA received 53 
individual responses that contained approximately 160 comments. This 
guidance incorporates FTA and FHWA's responses to those comments.
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    \10\ 78 FR 60015 (Sept. 30, 2013).
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Summary Discussion of Comments Received in Response to the Proposed 
Guidance

    The proposed guidance sought comments on several specific issues: 
(1) The specifically designated representative; (2) the eligibility of 
representatives of providers of public transportation to serve as 
specifically designated representatives; (3) the cooperative process to 
select a specifically designated representative in MPOs with multiple 
providers of public transportation; (4) the role of the specifically 
designated representative; and (5) restructuring the MPOs to include 
representation by providers of public transportation.
    The FTA and FHWA received 53 individual responses that contained 
approximately 160 comments: 25 MPOs, 10 providers of public 
transportation, 9 individuals, 4 trade associations, 4 others 
(including municipalities and advocacy organizations), and a State 
department of transportation. Several comments were outside the scope 
of this guidance and are therefore not addressed in this guidance. For 
example, some comments were specific to a situation in a particular 
metropolitan area. Where appropriate, FTA has reached out to the 
commenters to address their concerns. Comments pertaining to the 
guidance and FTA and FHWA's responses are discussed below.

The Need for Guidance in General

    The FTA and FHWA received 19 comments supporting the need for 
policy guidance to implement MAP-21's changes to 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) 
and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B). These commenters agreed that policy 
guidance would provide needed direction on how MPOs and providers of 
public transportation may meet the MAP-21 requirements for 
representation of providers of public transportation on MPOs.
    The FTA and FHWA received three comments that stated the change in 
language to 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B) does not 
warrant policy guidance because of the long history of granting MPOs 
latitude in deciding the composition of their policy boards. Moreover, 
these comments stated that the responsibilities added by the new 
language can be addressed through the existing certification review 
process and do not warrant additional guidance.
    The FTA and FHWA have determined that policy guidance is necessary 
to provide direction to MPOs and providers of public transportation on 
how to meet this new statutory provision within the 2-year time frame.

A Specifically Designated Public Transportation Representative

    Twenty-three commenters expressed concurrence with the proposed 
guidance that the intent of the MAP-21 provision to include 
``representation by providers of public transportation'' is that 
representatives of providers of public transportation, once designated, 
should have equal decisionmaking rights and authorities as the other 
members that are on the policy board of an MPO that serves a TMA. 
Thirteen commenters indicated that they did not support that 
interpretation of the provision and urged FTA and FHWA to provide 
flexibility to allow MPOs to include transit representation in ways 
that would fit the unique circumstances of each metropolitan area. Two 
of these commenters asserted that MAP-21 did not change a local 
jurisdiction's authority to assign voting rights to policy board 
members. One commenter stated there is no basis in law for requiring 
MPOs to alter their board compositions. Many asserted that including 
public transit agencies as non-voting members or on MPO technical or 
policy committees is adequate to satisfy 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 
U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B). A few commenters stated that a policy or 
technical committee would be more appropriate for transit 
decisionmaking, as MPO policy boards deal with many issues outside of 
transportation.
    The clear intent of this legislative provision is to ensure that 
providers of public transportation are represented on the MPO board and 
should have equal decisionmaking rights and authorities as the other 
members that are on the policy board of an MPO that serves a TMA. 
Contrary to the conclusions of some of the commenters, 23 U.S.C. 
134(d)(2) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2) expressly provide that MPOs serving 
TMAs must alter their board compositions, if necessary, in order to 
attain the statutorily required structure. Congress amended 23 U.S.C. 
134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B) to provide that, among other 
mandatory MPO members, MPOs serving an area designated as a TMA 
specifically ``shall consist of . . . representation by providers of 
public transportation.'' Congress also amended 23 U.S.C.

[[Page 31216]]

134(d)(5)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(5)(B) to provide that an MPO ``may 
be restructured to meet the requirements of paragraph (2) without 
undertaking a redesignation.'' Additionally, the Conference Report 
accompanying MAP-21 states, ``The conference committee requires the 
structure of all Metropolitan Planning Organizations include officials 
of public agencies that administer or operate public transportation 
systems within two years of enactment.'' \11\ Congress also made clear 
that the term metropolitan planning organization refers to ``the policy 
board'' of the organization, not its advisory or non-decisionmaking 
elements.\12\
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    \11\ H.R. Conf. Rep. 112-557 (2012).
    \12\ 23 U.S.C. 134(b)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(b)(2).
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    Multiple MPOs that serve areas designated as TMAs commented that 23 
U.S.C. 134(d)(3) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(3) exempt them from having to 
comply with 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2) because the 
MPOs are acting pursuant to authority created under State law that was 
in effect on December 18, 1991. The exemption has existed in statute in 
some form since 1991. The FTA and FHWA's long-standing interpretation 
of this provision is that an exemption from the MPO structure 
requirements is only appropriate for an MPO where (1) the MPO operates 
pursuant to a State law that was in effect on or before December 18, 
1991; (2) such State law has not been amended after December 18, 1991, 
as regards to the structure or organization of the MPO; and (3) the MPO 
has not been designated or re-designated after December 18, 1991. An 
MPO that claims an exemption should self-certify its exempt status with 
FTA and FHWA as part of the MPO certification process described at 23 
CFR 450.334 or through some other documentation.
    With respect to who should be eligible to represent providers of 
public transportation on the MPO, two commenters, including a transit 
industry trade association, requested that FTA and FHWA establish that 
the representative ``must'' be an elected official on the policy board 
of a provider being represented or a direct representative employed by 
a provider being represented. Another commenter expressed concern that 
the proposed qualifications of the representative were too specific. A 
few commenters requested that, in addition to the representative being 
an officer of a provider of public transportation or an elected 
official that serves on the board of directors of the provider of 
public transportation, the representative may also be a non-elected 
member appointed to the board of directors of the provider of public 
transportation. The FTA and FHWA concur that an appointed member of a 
public transportation provider's board of directors also can serve as a 
representative of providers of public transportation on the MPO. In 
keeping with FTA and FHWA's goal of providing flexibility to MPOs, the 
representative should be either a board member (elected or appointed) 
or officer of a provider of public transportation being represented on 
the MPO. The guidance remains suggestive rather than mandatory in this 
respect.
    Fourteen entities requested that the guidance state definitively 
that a representative of providers of public transportation cannot 
fulfill multiple roles on an MPO board, for example, due to that 
person's position as a local elected official or an appropriate State 
official. These commenters asserted that an ``MPO board member cannot 
simultaneously represent multiple organizations'' and that an elected 
official who is appointed to the MPO as a representative of that 
official's local government does not necessarily represent the 
interests of transit, even if he or she happens to be on the public 
transportation provider's board. Eight commenters asserted that the 
presence on the MPO of local elected officials should fully satisfy the 
new requirement. Seven commenters sought clarity generally on this 
provision. The FTA and FHWA agree that this proposed provision needed 
clarification. The policy guidance states that a public transportation 
representative on an MPO should not serve as one of the other mandatory 
MPO members set forth in 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2). 
For example, a member of an MPO board whose assignment comes by virtue 
of his or her position as an elected official should not also attempt 
to serve as a representative of providers of public transportation on 
the MPO board.
    A few commenters highlighted the potential conflict that could 
arise when a representative of providers of public transportation is 
the subordinate of another MPO board member and the superior board 
member's and the public transportation providers' interests do not 
align. Two commenters noted that when a local government is the 
provider of public transportation, that local government effectively 
would be given an additional vote, upsetting a carefully constructed 
balance on the MPO. Another commenter noted that a conflict could 
result when a public transportation provider other than the designated 
recipient \13\ serves as the representative of the providers of public 
transportation on the MPO board. The FTA and FHWA appreciate that 
recommending a separate and distinct representative of providers of 
public transportation could introduce a conflict or upset a carefully 
constructed balance on the MPO. However, 23 U.S.C. 134(a)(2) and 49 
U.S.C. 5303(a)(2) state that ``it is in the national interest . . . to 
encourage the continued improvement and evolution of the metropolitan 
and statewide planning processes by metropolitan planning 
organizations, State departments of transportation, and public transit 
operators.'' The MAP-21's establishment of a performance-based approach 
to transportation decisionmaking evolves and improves the metropolitan 
and statewide planning processes, increasing the accountability and 
transparency of the Federal surface transportation program and 
improving project decisionmaking. The inclusion of a representative of 
providers of public transportation in each MPO that serves a TMA is a 
critical element of MAP-21's performance management framework as it 
will enable the MPO to establish balanced performance targets and 
improve its ability to develop plans and programs that support an 
intermodal transportation system for the metropolitan area. As such, it 
contributes to the continued improvement and evolution of the 
cooperative and collaborative metropolitan planning process.
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    \13\ The term ``designated recipient'' means ``(A) an entity 
designated, in accordance with the planning process under sections 
5303 and 5304, by the Governor of a State, responsible local 
officials, and publicly owned operators of public transportation, to 
receive and apportion amounts under section 5336 to urbanized areas 
of 200,000 or more in population; or (B) a State or regional 
authority, if the authority is responsible under the laws of a State 
for a capital project and for financing and directly providing 
public transportation.'' 49 U.S.C. 5302(4).
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    Three commenters suggested that the term FTA and FHWA used to refer 
to a public transportation representative on an MPO board, 
``specifically designated representative,'' implied a role and 
responsibilities that differed from other members of the MPO board or 
``create[d] a subclass of board member.'' This was not the intention of 
the proposed guidance. The guidance affirms that a representative of 
providers of public transportation on an MPO that serves a TMA, once 
designated, should have equal decisionmaking rights and authorities as 
the other members that are on the policy board of an MPO that serves a 
TMA. The FTA and FHWA

[[Page 31217]]

recognize that the term ``specifically designated representative'' 
generated considerable confusion. Consequently, the terms 
``representative of providers of public transportation'' and ``public 
transportation representative'' replace it in the guidance.

Providers of Public Transportation

    Eight commenters stated that to require the representative of 
providers of public transportation to be a direct recipient of the 
Urbanized Area Formula funding program is too restrictive, arguing that 
many large urbanized areas allocate transit funding through sub-
recipients that would be precluded from participating in the MPO 
process. Four additional commenters interpreted this language to mean 
that a city or county that is not a direct recipient would be precluded 
from being able to represent transit interests on the MPO board. One 
commenter asserted that ``all public transportation agencies within the 
MPO should be eligible to serve in this important role.''
    The FTA and FHWA agree that the use of the term ``direct 
recipient'' was overly restrictive. The policy guidance clarifies that 
the representative of providers of public transportation on an MPO that 
serves an area designated as a TMA should be a provider of public 
transportation in the metropolitan planning area and a designated 
recipient, a direct recipient, or a sub-recipient of Urbanized Area 
Formula funding, or another public transportation entity that is 
eligible to receive Urbanized Area Formula funding. The FTA and FHWA 
recommend selecting a representative from among those public 
transportation providers that are eligible to receive Urbanized Area 
Formula funding because most Federal transit funding planned by MPOs 
serving TMAs is awarded under this program, and an eligible recipient 
of Urbanized Area Formula funding will be in the best position to 
represent transit interests on the MPO.

Process for the Selection of Public Transportation Representatives

    Three providers of public transportation expressed support for the 
proposed policy that MPOs that serve an area designated as a TMA should 
cooperate with providers of public transportation and the State to 
amend their metropolitan planning agreements to include the cooperative 
process for selecting representatives of providers of public 
transportation on the MPO board. Conversely, while agreeing that MPOs 
should use a cooperative process to select representatives of providers 
of public transportation, eight MPOs encouraged either the elimination 
or the softening of this policy recommendation, which would be ``an 
unnecessary burden'' that is not needed to meet the goals of MAP-21.
    The metropolitan planning agreement is a productive mechanism that 
facilitates the working relationships among MPOs, States, and providers 
of public transportation as they fulfill their metropolitan 
transportation planning requirements. Regulations require that MPOs, 
States, and public transportation operators cooperatively determine 
their mutual responsibilities in carrying out the metropolitan 
transportation planning process and that these responsibilities be 
clearly identified in written agreements among the MPO, the State, and 
the public transportation operators serving the metropolitan planning 
area.\14\ The process to select representatives of the providers of 
public transportation for the MPO board is one of the mutual 
responsibilities of the MPO, the State, and the providers of public 
transportation. Thus, FTA and FHWA encourage, but do not require, MPOs, 
States, and providers of public transportation to amend their 
metropolitan planning agreements to document the process for selecting 
representatives of providers of public transportation. However, given 
the statutory deadline of October 1, 2014, and the expectation that 
MPOs, States, and providers of public transportation may need to update 
their agreements to address the MAP-21 performance management 
requirements once finalized through rulemaking, the policy guidance 
clarifies that an MPO board resolution, or other documentation, 
adopting the process to select representatives of providers of public 
transportation should be sufficient.
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    \14\ 23 CFR 450.314.
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    While the guidance recommends that MPOs formally adopt some kind of 
process for the selection of public transportation representatives, the 
guidance does not prescribe a specific selection process. This guidance 
affords the flexibility for providers of public transportation, States, 
and MPOs to determine the process to select representatives of 
providers of public transportation for the MPO policy board. This could 
include the selection of representatives by the providers of transit 
services themselves, as suggested by one commenter who said that ``it 
should be up to the transit agencies to select whom they want to 
represent their interests [and] the vote for this representative should 
occur solely between the transit operators, and should be completely 
independent of the MPO board and staff's decision making.'' By analogy, 
in many urbanized areas, providers of public transportation engage with 
each other to select a designated recipient or to allocate Urbanized 
Area Formula funds that have been apportioned to the urbanized area. 
The guidance clarifies that MPOs, States, and providers of public 
transportation have the flexibility to determine the most effective 
process that best serves the interests of the metropolitan planning 
area.

Role of the Public Transportation Representative

    Four commenters expressed concern that the requirement to specify 
the role and responsibilities of the representative of providers of 
public transportation would place restrictions on the role of the 
transit representative. This is not the intent. In the guidance, FTA 
and FHWA recommend that MPOs establish, at a minimum, that a 
representative must consider the needs of all eligible public 
transportation providers that provide service in the metropolitan 
planning area and, in exercising this responsibility, the 
representative should have equal decisionmaking rights and authorities 
as the other members that are on the policy board of an MPO that serves 
a TMA. This guidance is intended to recommend a base level for 
effective representation and is not intended to restrict the role of a 
transit representative on an MPO.
    While one commenter expressed support for the proposal that MPOs 
serving TMAs should amend their bylaws to describe the collaborative 
process of selecting representatives of providers of public 
transportation and the role the selected representative should play 
``because it would help ensure that transit-related issues and 
interests are appropriately and meaningfully represented in MPO 
decision-making,'' 10 commenters expressed strong concern, claiming 
that the proposal was unnecessary, onerous, and that it had no basis in 
law. The proposed policy guidance did not propose to require MPOs to 
establish or amend bylaws, but only recommended such action. The FTA 
and FHWA have retained in the policy guidance that MPOs should amend 
their bylaws, if the MPO has them, to provide that a public 
transportation representative should consider the needs of all eligible 
public transportation providers that provide service in the 
metropolitan planning area and that, in exercising this responsibility, 
the representative should have equal decisionmaking rights and

[[Page 31218]]

authorities as the other members that are on the policy board of an MPO 
that serves a TMA. The guidance also recommends that an MPO could 
affirm these two policies in a board resolution or other documentation.

Restructuring MPOs To Include Representation by Providers of Public 
Transportation

    Eighteen commenters expressed support for the proposal that an MPO 
that serves a TMA that has multiple providers of public transportation 
should cooperate \15\ with the eligible providers to determine how the 
MPO will include representation by providers of public transportation 
on its policy board. The example methods that FTA and FHWA described in 
the proposed guidance included having all providers represented by a 
single board position, rotating the board position among several 
providers, or proportional representation of all eligible providers on 
the board. Many commenters proposed that representation should not be 
limited to a single transit representative. Thirteen commenters 
proposed that all providers of public transportation that operate in a 
TMA should be given representation on the MPO board. One commenter 
opined that ``each transit agency/provider should have a vote in 
matters before the MPO rather than having several transit providers 
share a single vote.'' Another commenter suggested that ``the best 
approach is one that rotates the board position among all eligible 
providers.'' Still another commenter proposed that ``all efforts be 
made to include the largest providers of public transportation in a 
region'' as this policy would ``ensure that the majority of public 
transportation users were represented in [the] MPO decision making 
process.''
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    \15\ Cooperation means that ``the parties involved in carrying 
out the transportation planning and programming processes work 
together to achieve a common goal or objective.'' 23 CFR 450.104.
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    The FTA and FHWA acknowledge that there are multiple ways to 
include representation of providers of public transportation on MPO 
boards and note that many MPOs currently do so. For example, the 
Regional Transportation Council of the North Central Texas Council of 
Governments (NCTCOG); the Portland, Oregon, MPO (JPACT); the Miami 
Valley Regional Planning Commission; the National Capital Region 
Transportation Planning Board that serves the Washington, DC, 
metropolitan area; and the Ozarks Transportation Organization in 
Springfield, Missouri, all cited their inclusion of transit 
representatives as voting members on their MPO boards.
    An MPO serving one of the Nation's newest TMAs, the Portland Area 
Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) MPO in Portland, Maine, 
accommodates representation by providers of public transportation on 
the MPO policy board through a cooperative process. As documented in 
the PACTS bylaws, seven providers of public transportation serve on the 
Transit Committee of PACTS. The PACTS Transit Committee identifies a 
representative from the seven providers to serve on the Policy 
Committee, the Technical Committee, the Planning Committee, and the 
Executive Committee, and to represent transit for the entire 
metropolitan planning area. The representatives serve for 2 years and 
may serve successive terms.
    The policy guidance provides MPOs, States, and providers of public 
transportation with the flexibility to determine the most effective 
arrangement to best serve the interests of the metropolitan planning 
area.

Policy Guidance

Representatives of Providers of Public Transportation

    By October 1, 2014, MPOs that serve an area designated as a TMA 
must include ``(A) local elected officials; (B) officials of public 
agencies that administer or operate major modes of transportation in 
the metropolitan area, including representation by providers of public 
transportation; and (C) appropriate State officials.'' \16\ The 
requirement to include ``representation by providers of public 
transportation'' is a new requirement under MAP-21. The intent of this 
provision is that representatives of providers of public 
transportation, once designated, should have equal decisionmaking 
rights and authorities as the other members that are on the policy 
board of an MPO that serves a TMA. This expectation reflects the long-
standing position of FHWA and FTA with respect to statutorily required 
MPO board members.
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    \16\ 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2); 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2).
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    A representative of providers of public transportation should be an 
elected or appointed member of the provider's board of directors or a 
senior officer of the provider, such as a chief executive officer or a 
general manager.
    A representative of providers of public transportation should not 
also attempt to represent other entities on the MPO. For example, if a 
local elected official is also a member of the board of directors of a 
provider of public transportation and the elected official represents 
his or her local jurisdiction's interests on the MPO, the local 
official should not also serve as a representative of public 
transportation providers generally.
    An MPO is exempt from the structure requirements of 23 U.S.C. 
134(d)(2) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2) if (1) the MPO operates pursuant to 
a State law that was in effect on or before December 18, 1991; (2) such 
State law has not been amended after December 18, 1991, as regards the 
structure or organization of the MPO; and (3) the MPO has not been 
designated or re-designated after December 18, 1991. An MPO that claims 
an exemption should self-certify its exempt status with FTA and FHWA as 
part of the MPO self-certification process described at 23 CFR 450.334 
or through some other documentation.

Eligible Providers of Public Transportation

    To satisfy 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(2)(B), a 
representative of a provider of public transportation that operates in 
a TMA should be eligible to be a designated recipient, a direct 
recipient, or a sub-recipient of the Urbanized Area Formula funding 
program.

Process for the Selection of Representatives of Providers of Public 
Transportation

    To select representatives of providers of public transportation, 
MPOs, States, and providers of public transportation have the 
flexibility to determine the most effective process that best serves 
the interests of the metropolitan planning area. The FTA and FHWA 
encourage MPOs that serve an area designated as a TMA to amend their 
metropolitan planning agreements in cooperation with providers of 
public transportation and the State to include the cooperative process 
they have developed to select representatives of providers of public 
transportation for inclusion on the MPO board. The Metropolitan 
Transportation Planning rule at 23 CFR 450.314 provides for 
metropolitan planning agreements in which MPOs, States, and providers 
of public transportation cooperatively determine their mutual 
responsibilities in carrying out the metropolitan transportation 
planning process. Alternatively, an MPO should formally adopt the 
cooperative selection process through a board resolution or other 
documentation.

[[Page 31219]]

Role of a Representative of Providers of Public Transportation

    A representative of providers of public transportation should 
consider the needs of all eligible public transportation providers that 
provide service in the metropolitan planning area. In exercising this 
responsibility, the representative should have equal decisionmaking 
rights and authorities as the other members that are on the policy 
board of an MPO that serves a TMA. An MPO serving a TMA should formally 
establish through a board resolution the role and responsibilities of a 
representative of providers of public transportation, including, at a 
minimum, that the transit representative should (1) consider the needs 
of all eligible providers of public transportation in the metropolitan 
planning area and to address those issues that are relevant to the 
responsibilities of the MPO, and (2) have equal decisionmaking rights 
and authorities as the other members that are on the policy board of an 
MPO that serves a TMA.
    To the extent that an MPO has bylaws, the MPO should, in 
consultation with transit providers in the TMA, develop bylaws that 
describe the establishment, roles, and responsibilities of transit 
representatives. These bylaws should explain the process by which the 
public transportation representative will identify transit-related 
issues for consideration by the MPO policy board and verify that 
transit priorities are considered in planning products to be adopted by 
the MPO. In TMAs with multiple providers of public transportation, the 
bylaws also should outline how representatives will consider the needs 
of all eligible providers of public transportation and address issues 
that are relevant to the responsibilities of the MPO.

Restructuring MPOs To Include Representation by Providers of Public 
Transportation

    Title 23 U.S.C. 134(d)(5)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(d)(5)(B) provide 
that an MPO may be restructured to meet the law's representation 
requirements without having to secure the agreement of the Governor and 
units of general purpose government as part of a redesignation.
    There are multiple providers of public transportation within most 
TMAs. An MPO that serves an area designated as a TMA that has multiple 
providers of public transportation may need to cooperate with the 
eligible providers to determine how the MPO will meet the requirement 
to include representation by providers of public transportation. There 
are various approaches to meeting this requirement. For example, an MPO 
may allocate a single board position to eligible providers of public 
transportation collectively, providing that one representative of 
providers of public transportation must be agreed upon through a 
cooperative process. The requirement for representation might also be 
met by rotating the board position among all eligible providers or by 
providing all eligible providers with proportional representation. 
However the representation is ultimately designated, the MPO should 
formally adopt the revised structure through a board resolution, 
bylaws, a metropolitan planning agreement, or other documentation, as 
appropriate.
    Apart from the requirement for representation on the MPO's policy 
board, an MPO also may allow for transit representation on policy or 
technical committees. Eligible providers of public transportation that 
do not participate on the MPO's policy board may hold positions on 
advisory or technical committees.
    The FHWA and FTA encourage MPOs, States, local stakeholders, and 
providers of public transportation to take this opportunity to 
determine the most effective governance and institutional arrangements 
to best serve the interests of the metropolitan planning area.

    Issued on: May 21, 2014.
Therese McMillan,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Transit Administration.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-12163 Filed 5-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P