Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


September 22, 2016

Continuing Resolution Update
The Senate remains unable to break a logjam that continues to hold up a continuing resolution that would fund the government through December 9 and provide funding to fight Zika. Despite ongoing disagreements over what the final agreement will contain, the Senate took the unusual step of taking a procedural vote on a bill that does not yet exist, which was approved 89-7. It is a strange thing to report that the bill has essentially passed the Senate, without being able to tell you what it contains.

An Examination of FEMA’s Limited Role in Local Land Use Development Decisions
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing this week on the impacts of the Flood Insurance Program and other Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs. The recording from the hearing and written testimonies are available online.

MPO Coordination NPRM Comment Period Extended

In response to the many requests for extension of the comment period, USDOT is reopening the docket for the MPO Coordination Rule. The 30-day extension will begin once the announcement appears in the Federal Register. The new deadline will be mid-to-late October.

FHWA is specifically requesting feedback on several items, including the cost of implementing the NPRM, possible exemptions that could be granted, the circumstances in which exemptions should be applied, and the effect of the requirement that MPOs create joint planning documents. This might be another opportunity to state our displeasure with the rule and further highlight its potential costs and challenges.

Stay tuned for more information and contact Erich Zimmermann ( with any questions, comments, or thoughts.

Federal Automated Vehicle Policy Released
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released their much anticipated guidance on autonomous vehicles this Tuesday. The policy is divided into four sections that include Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, Model State Policy, NHTSA’s Current Regulatory Tools, and New Tools and Authorities in addition to the current regulatory powers USDOT has to promote the safe operation of driverless vehicles. USDOT intends to update this policy annually and seeks public comment for future iterations. This guidance is one of the first steps of preparing for this technology on the federal level and will help to avoid patchwork laws from individual states. USDOT also released a short FAQ page to address general questions related to the policy.

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The ASLA’s New Guide to Resilient Design
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released new guidance on resilient landscape planning and design. It includes case studies and resources of how infrastructure can work with nature and recover more quickly from extreme climate events.

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San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego, CA

Chief Executive Officer
Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Urbana, IL

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From Transit to Access: Rethinking How Cities Connect Residents to Opportunity
September 23, 12:00 – 12:45 PM ET
Join Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, for a talk on the need for a New Urban Practice – a fundamentally different way of solving problems and riding trends of change that can move the needle on poverty and economic opportunity in cities.

Walking and Walkability in Rural Communities
October 13, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Different environments or types of communities offer different opportunities and challenges for promoting walking and walkability. One of the most common questions at America Walks is about resources available for walking in rural communities. Learn about some of the challenges that come with working in rural environments and a selection of resources that provide unique opportunities to promote walking and walkability in rural communities in this webinar. Hear from WalkBoston as they talk about their work in promoting walking and walkability across the state of Massachusetts followed by examining two resources available to help you do the same in your community!

NCHRP Snapshot Survey: Resiliency Planning
Survey Closes October 30
The AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning (SCOP), through the NHCRP 8-36 program,  invites your participation in a brief survey covering current and future planning activities at state DOTs, MPOs, and regional organizations. The insights and responses you provide will be used to develop a quarterly series of “snapshot” publications. These snapshots highlight current practices, address trending topics, provide best practice examples, and act as a resource for planners, executives, legislators, and others interested in planning practices. The survey explores the topics of risk, resiliency, and redundancy in long range planning.  Please distribute the survey to the person(s) within your agency who may best respond to this topic.

Community Revitalization Approaches in Gary and Detroit
November 15, 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET
This webinar is a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Sustainable and Healthy Communities Seminar Series and will focus on EPA Region 5 and community revitalization in Gary, IN and Detroit, MI.

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