Wed, January 29, 2003

Regional transportation planning

The January 28, 2003 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader had a front page article saying that under a proposed plan, Jessamine county would get a greater voice on the regional transportation panel. Jessamine has complained that it has no influence on the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the group responsible for transportation planning in Fayette and Jessamine counties, and points to the lack of even a study for a connector road between Interstate 75 and Nicholasville as an example. Jessamine has only 3 votes to Fayette’s 18. Under the proposal, Fayette county would cut its voting members on the MPO to 10. Jessamine would retain its three voting members. The new MPO would have seven Urban County Council members, the Lexington mayor, the Fayette judge-executive, an official from LexTran, the Jessamine judge-executive, and the mayors of Nicholasville and Wilmore.

These changes to the MPO could benefit rail-trails in Jessamine County. In a sidebar, the Lexington Herald-Leader described the role of the MPO like this:

The MPO establishes transportation policy for the region and prioritizes which roads should be studied, improved or built. In addition to roadwork, the MPO also works on energy-conservation planning and oversees ride-sharing, van-pooling and air-quality programs.

The MPO also establishes bikeways and facilities for the disabled. This year, the MPO has a budget of $37.7 million in federal, state and local funds.

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