Revised Public Involvement Procedures for Transportation Plans and Programs


September 13, 1994

Pursuant to the mandates of the Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), public
comments regarding the contents of this document may be
provided within 45 days of its distribution by the Middle Rio
Grande Council of Governments. Comments should be sent to
the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments, 317 Commercial
N.E., Suite 300, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102.

Preparation of this report was financed in part by the
New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department
in cooperation with the
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration,
and Federal Transit Administration



  I. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

 II. Procedures for Public Involvement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

III. Public Involvement in Plans and Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7



State Planning and Development District III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2


Metropolitan Planning Area/Transportation Management Area . . . . . . .3


Joint Intermodal Urban Transportation Program
Organizational Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5






                                IN THE

When the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 was
enacted by Congress, it required that all Metropolitan Planning
Organizations publish the procedures used to achieve public
involvement in the local transportation planning process.  This
document was developed in response to that requirement.  The
introduction describes the Metropolitan Planning Organization and its
structure, including the establishment of the newly formed Public
Involvement Committee.  The second section describes the formal
procedures for public involvement in the transportation planning
process for the metropolitan area, while the third section describes
how a member of the public may get involved in the development of
specific transportation plans and programs for the area.

  I. Introduction

The Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments (MRGCOG) is an
association of local general and special purpose units of government
within State Planning and Development District 3.  District 3 is made
up of the counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia
(FIGURE 1).  The association was created and is maintained under the
Joint Powers Act and Regional Planning Act of the State of New Mexico.

The MRGCOG was designated as the Metropolitan Planning Organization
(MPO) for the Albuquerque Metropolitan Planning Area (AMPA; FIGURE 2)
by agreement among the local elected officials and the Governor of New
Mexico.  Each urbanized area, in order to receive Federal capital or
operating assistance, must have a continuing, cooperative, and
comprehensive (3C) transportation planning process which results in
plans and programs consistent with Federal regulations.  The MPO is
responsible for the conduct of this process.

The MRGCOG's Board of Directors is composed of elected officials
representing the various entities which make up the MRGCOG's
membership.  Because the AMPA does not include all of District 3 and
because of the complexity of the transportation systems planning and
development process within the urban area, the Board of Directors
created the Urban Transportation Planning Policy Board (UTPPB).  Its
membership is made up of representatives of those local governments
that are within the AMPA.  The UTPPB establishes policy related to
transportation issues, assures coordination of local government
transportation systems planning and project development, and provides
a forum for cooperative decision-making among local elected officials.
In addition to the member representatives from the local governments,
advisory members on the UTPPB include representatives from the New
Mexico State Highway Commission, New Mexico State Highway and
Transportation Department (NMSHTD), Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA), Federal Transit Administration, Kirtland Air Force Base
(KAFB), the State Land Commissioner, and the Sandia and Isleta Indian

                             FIGURE 1 HERE

                             FIGURE 2 HERE

The UTPPB in turn is advised on technical issues by its Transportation
Coordinating Committee (TCC), which is composed of staff-level
representatives from each of the local member governments.  Advisory
members to the TCC include representatives from the NMSHTD, FHWA,
KAFB, the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, the
Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee (GABAC), and the
Transit Advisory Board.  Liaison representatives include
representatives from the Gas Company of New Mexico and the Pueblo of
Sandia.  A graphical description of the organizational structure of
the transportation planning process in the AMPA is provided in FIGURE
3.  Lists of the current representatives on the Board of Directors,
UTPPB, and TCC are provided in Appendix A.

As the result of an initial review and public comment period for this
document in 1993, the UTPPB directed that a permanent Public
Involvement Committee (PIC) be established.  This Committee acts in an
advisory capacity to the UTPPB and provides a mechanism for early and
continuing input from the public at large in the transportation
planning process.  The Committee is made up of representatives from
established neighborhood organizations throughout the urban area,
representatives appointed by elected officials to provide a voice for
those portions of the area which do not yet have formal neighborhood
organizations, and representatives from other interested groups such
as the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Club.  A
list of the current representation on the PIC is provided in Appendix

The PIC has been charged with being involved both in the annual review
of the fiscally constrained Long Range Multimodal Intermodal
Transportation Plan as well as the development of the annual
Transportation Program for all modes of transportation within the
Albuquerque Metropolitan Planning Area.  Members of the PIC are also
asked to commit to acting as  informal liaison between technical staff
and the public at large on transportation issues.

It is expected that the role of this newly-formed committee will
evolve to fit the needs of the community and the UTPPB as various
issues are raised and as its members become more familiar with the
complexity and potential of the transportation planning process in the

As a public governmental entity, the MRGCOG must follow the various
Federal and State regulations regarding public meetings.  The
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
requires early and continued public involvement in the development of
transportation plans and programs for the AMPA.  To this end, MPOs are
required to publish the procedures by which they encourage and enable
public involvement.  Forty-five days must be provided for written
public comment before the procedures are adopted.  This document is
intended to fulfill that requirement and is a formal statement of the
procedures currently in use by the MRGCOG's Board.  If these public
involvement procedures are revised, the new procedures will also be
published and 45 days allowed for written public comment before they
are adopted. 

                             FIGURE 3 HERE

As part of its annual review of transportation plans and programs, the
MPO will provide for an annual review of the effectiveness of the
public involvement procedures set out in this document.  These
procedures are also required to be reviewed by the Federal Highway
Administration and the Federal Transit Administration to assure that
full and open access is provided to MPO decision making processes.

II.  Procedures for Public Involvement

An Open Meetings Resolution is passed annually by the MRGCOG's Board
of Directors in response to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act
of the State of New Mexico.  The resolution requires legal notices of
regularly-scheduled meetings to be placed in general circulation
newspapers at least ten days in advance of meetings of the Board and
its Executive Board, the UTPPB, and the Regional Transportation
Planning Policy Advisory Committee.  In addition, written notice must
be mailed to any Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
licensed broadcast station and general circulation newspapers which
has made a written request that it be notified of public meetings.
Copies of the proposed agendas are available at the MRGCOG offices
during the week prior to the meeting.  Special meetings of these
Boards may be called by the Chairman or a majority of the members on a
three day notice.  To meet the notice requirements, telephone calls
are placed to broadcast stations and general circulation newspapers
that have requested notices of public meetings.  Emergency meetings
may be called on 24-hour notice, with the same provisions for
notification.  In addition, each board and committee establishes its
yearly meeting schedule at the beginning of each year.  These
schedules are provided in final form to all board and committee
members and any person requesting a copy from the MRGCOG offices.  A
monthly schedule of subcommittee, committee, and board meetings is
also provided to the Board of Directors and the UTPPB and is posted in
the MRGCOG offices.     

Agenda items are generated through the MRGCOG office in close
cooperation with the Chairman for the board in question.  Proposed
agenda items may include formal actions initiated by local
governments, formal requests from the private sector, correspondence
related to items of interest to local member governments, and any
general items of interest to the local member governments.  Included
with the agenda is an ADA-required notice that anyone needing special
accommodation may contact the MRGCOG offices within seven days of the
meeting date to ensure that accommodation will be made.  Copies of
meeting agendas are provided to all voting and advisory members of the
boards, media, and to the general public as requested. 

Included in the standing items near the beginning of the agenda is
"Public Comments."  Under this item, any person may comment on any
issue which is not on the agenda.  Members of the audience who wish to
address an agenda item are asked to sign in with the recording
secretary and identify the item they wish to address.  They are called
on when that agenda item is addressed. 

In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, meetings are
held in wheelchair-accessible meeting rooms at facilities with
accessible parking.  Tape recordings are made of public meetings and
are available to the vision-impaired at the MRGCOG offices.  Notepads
and personal assistance is available to aid the verbally-impaired to
participate at public meetings.  Anyone wishing to attend a public
meeting who requires the assistance of a sign-language expert is
requested to notify the MRGCOG offices seven days prior to the meeting
so arrangements can be made to provide signing services.

Because the TCC is a technical advisory committee of the UTPPB and
does not establish policy, legal notification is not required. 
However, the broadcasting stations and general circulation newspapers
who have requested copies of public meeting notices also receive
copies of the TCC agendas when they are published, approximately one
week prior to the regularly-scheduled meeting.  In addition, private
providers of public transportation in the urban area and any members
of the general public who have requested them also receive copies of
TCC agendas.  A copy of the agenda is provided to all voting and non-
voting advisory and liaison members of the TCC.

The process for developing the TCC agendas parallels that for
developing those for the Board of Directors and the UTPPB.  Members of
the general public are encouraged to provide their input at meetings
of the TCC when an agenda item is of concern to them.

The proceedings for these public meetings are documented and
distributed to all participating agencies in the form of summaries
with the agenda packet for the next regularly-scheduled meeting.  They
are available to the local news media and the general public for
review at the MRGCOG offices upon request.  Official copies of the
summaries may be obtained for the cost of reproduction.  In addition,
tape recordings of the meetings are maintained in the MRGCOG offices
for one year following each meeting.

Throughout this public process, every effort is made to coordinate MPO
and state reviews of issues, plans, and programs so that redundancy
and costs may be reduced.  To facilitate the efficient use of local
planning resources and to ensure that Federal requirements regarding
public involvement procedures are met, the MRGCOG's procedures, as
outlined in this document, will be used by the various local
governments in the analyses of major metropolitan transportation
investments in the urban area when those investments have been

III.  Public Involvement in Plans and Programs

From time to time there are issues of sufficient magnitude that
advisory committees are formed on which citizens are invited to
participate directly.  A recent example of this is the Commercial
Vehicle Network produced by the Urban Area Truck Route Task Group.
The Task Group was made up of representatives from various
neighborhood groups, businesses, and technical staff from the City of
Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.  Membership was solicited with over
300 letters to various neighborhood, advocacy, and business groups.
The Task Group developed a draft Commercial Vehicle Network which is
now being reviewed in much the same process that a document such as
the Transportation Program would follow. 

Another example is the development of the financially constrained long
range multi-modal transportation plan required by the ISTEA.  One of
the three committees working on the long range plan was a Citizens
Advisory Committee.  Membership on this Committee was solicited
through several notices in the Neighborhood News newsletter produced
by the City of Albuquerque's Office of Neighborhood Services.  Members
of the Citizens Advisory Group included representatives from
neighborhood groups, special interest and advocacy groups, and the
business community.

With the establishment of the PIC as discussed previously, a formal
process has been created for public participation early in the
transportation process.  As noted, the PIC participates in the
development of the Transportation Program. However, additional
opportunity for public involvement in this annual process is
extensive.  After initial review by the TCC and UTPPB, the
Transportation Program is published in draft form and provided to the
local member governments and interested members of the pubic for
review and comment over a two to three month period. These comments
are incorporated as appropriate prior to final review and adoption by
the UTPPB.  Explicit consideration of input received during the
planning and development process and the response to that input is
provided as an appendix to the document.

A process similar to that for the Transportation Program is followed
for all plans and programs, including the air quality conformity
documentation developed by the MPO for the AMPA. 

Throughout the transportation planning processes, technical and policy
information is available to any interested parties from the MRGCOG
offices for the cost of publication.  Details about specific documents
can be obtained by calling 505-247-1750 or visiting the MRGCOG offices
at 317 Commercial NE, Suite 300, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

                              APPENDIX A

                          BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                           MEMBERSHIP LISTS

                              APPENDIX B


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