Role of Designated Recipient and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in Allocating Funds in a Transportation Management Area (TMA)

Under FTA’s Section 5307 program, Congress has provided that the “designated recipient” (DR) is the entity selected by the State’s chief executive officer, responsible local officials, and publicly owned operators of public transportation to “receive and apportion” the amounts made available by Congress and FTA to a particular “transportation management area” (TMA) or a State or regional authority if the authority is responsible under the laws of the State for a capital project and for financing and directly providing public transportation.  (See 49 U.S.C. Section 5307(a)(2)(A)(B).  Section 5307 further provides that the DR, after consideration of comments and views of the public, prepares the final program of projects for the amounts available to the DR.  (See 49 U.S.C. Section 5307(c)). 

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Section 5303(d), an MPO, designated by agreement of the Governor and local elected officials that together represent at least 75 percent of the affected population (including the largest incorporated city based on population) or in accordance with State or local law, is the forum for cooperative decision-making.  Composed of local elected officials, appropriate State officials, and officials of public agencies that operate major modes of transportation in the region, the MPO is responsible for the development and adoption of the long range transportation plan and the shorter term transportation improvement program (TIP).  The TIP must include every capital and operating project for which assistance will be requested from the FTA.  The adopted TIP, which must be approved by the Governor is included subsequently in a statewide transportation improvement program (STIP) that is approved jointly by the FTA and the FHWA.  (See 49 U.S.C. Section 5303 (j)(1)(d), 49 U.S.C. 5304(g)(6) and 23 U.S.C. Section 135 (g)(6)). 

Both the planning requirements and the statutory provisions of Section 5307 specify the roles of the MPO and the DR.  While the MPO develops and adopts the TIP, the DR has the primary responsibility to develop the program of projects for the Section 5307 funds apportioned to its TMA for inclusion in the TIP.  The MPO and the DR have to work cooperatively to develop the TIP and agree on how Section 5307 funds will be spent.