On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the new listings of urbanized areas (UZAs) with populations greater than 200,000 as determined by the 2010 Census. These areas are designated as Transportation Management Areas (TMAs). The designations are important as they are used to determine federal eligibility and federal-state funding shares for a number of programs like the transit bus acquisition and congestion mitigation programs. FTA and FHWA will start using the new designated areas for fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding allocations. There are other responsibilities as well that go along with the new designations. For example, the FHWA site includes the following as additional requirements for areas designated as TMAs.
- Transportation plans and programs within a TMA must be based on a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process carried out by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in cooperation with the State and transit operators.
- The transportation planning process must include a Congestion Management Process (CMP).
- The FHWA and the FTA must certify the transportation planning process no less often than once every four years.
Persons who follow federal funding programs, especially the FTA and FHWA authorized programs, should review the new listings and other documents available on DOT’s site to understand the implications of these changes.