Transportation Thursdays

Each Thursday, NARC distributes a weekly digest of the transportation stories most important to regions.


Erich Zimmermann
Deputy Director/Director of Transportation Programs​

The Role of Regions in Transportation

Regional councils play a critical role in the nation’s transportation system: planning how the system will function in the future, providing for citizen engagement, and setting transportation goals and spending priorities for the local governments they serve. Regional transportation planning includes maintaining and improving the roadway and transit systems and bicycle and pedestrian facilities, fostering freight movement, integrating intelligent transportation systems, and more.

Many NARC members are the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for their regions. MPOs are governing boards comprised of local elected or appointed municipal or county government officials and other transportation stakeholders – from state governments, transit agencies, non-profit and advocacy organizations, and others – that collectively decide how to spend federal transportation dollars. Each metropolitan area over 50,000 in population is required to have an MPO. This regional approach is vital for the federal transportation program and ensures that local officials are leading the decision-making for federal investments.

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Policy Positions and Priorities

NARC supports a multimodal federal transportation program that increases funding and authority for regional organizations and local governments. To protect the important role regional councils, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs) play in planning the nation’s transportation system, NARC urges the federal government to support regional transportation efforts within the following issue areas:

  • Surface Transportation
    • Funding and Financing
    • Planning
    • Good Movement
    • Safety
    • Technology and Data
    • Implementation and Rulemaking
  • Aviation
  • Intercity Passenger Rail
  • Ports and Waterways

Policy Resources

NARC Transportation Committee

The Transportation Committee is NARC’s transportation technical assistance and policy recommendation body.  It meets several times a year to approve the association’s work program, recommend policies, and share information. In addition to standing meetings, the Committee meets via webinars and by conference call, as necessary.

The Transportation Committee is co-chaired by executives from a rural planning organization and a metropolitan planning organization, and an elected official:

Fred Strong, Councilman, City of Paso Robles, California
Greg Stuart, Executive Director, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization
Miriam Gillow-Wiles, Executive Director, Southwest Colorado Council of Governments

More Transportation Updates