The West Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO) conducts a rural transportation planning process in six west Alabama counties (Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, and Pickens). WARPO serves as the Alabama Department of Transportation’s consultation process with non-metropolitan local officials in west Alabama. The RPO functions somewhat like the Tuscaloosa Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). An important distinction between the MPO and the RPO is that all RPO recommendations and documents are only advisory at this time.
The West Alabama RPO started as a pilot project in fiscal year 2005. The project was financed by federal transportation planning funds provided by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and by local government funds provided by the West Alabama Regional Commission. In fiscal year 2007 ALDOT expanded the program by funding 11 other RPOs that cover the other rural counties in Alabama.
Title VI Notice - Notifying the Public of Rights Under Title VI West Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO)
The RPO operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with the RPO.
A complaint may be directly filed with the Federal Transit Administration at the Office of Civil Rights, Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor-TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20590
Federal Laws and Regulations
The laws that require Departments of Transportation to develop a non-metropolitan consultation process are found in Sections 134, 135, and 315 of Title 23 of the United States Code and Sections 5303-5306, and 5323 of Title 49 of the United States Code. The rules regarding the non-metropolitan consultation process are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) as Title 23 Part 450. The regulations require the States to consider the concerns of local elected officials when carrying out statewide transportation planning, to develop a process to consult with non-metropolitan local officials regarding transportation issues, and to consult with non-metropolitan officials when developing the statewide transportation plan and the statewide transportation improvement program (STIP). The regulations reflect the changes resulting from the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 109-59, August 10, 2005).
The West Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO) is composed of three committees. The Policy Committee is the official decision making body of the process. The Policy Committee is served by two advisory committees: the Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC).
The study area includes the six rural counties served by the West Alabama Regional Commission: Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, and Pickens. Tuscaloosa is not included in the study area because it is already served by a transportation planning process governed by the Tuscaloosa Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Tuscaloosa County does have non-voting representatives on the RPO Policy and TCC.
The first step in any transportation planning process is the development of an agreement. The agreement legally delineates the concerned governmental entities, defines the duties of each entity, and outlines the organizational structure. The agreement is between the West Alabama Regional Commission and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).
The joint Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration regulations regarding transportation planning were issued on February 14, 2007. The regulations dictate the development of unified planning work programs, transportation improvement programs, and long-range transportation plans.