RTP Guidelines Update: Read Our Comment Letter and Next Steps
August 5, 2016 1 Comment
As mentioned in our July 1 post, the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans are updating the guidelines for Regional Transportation Plans for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) for the first time since 2010. The process kicked off in late June, and July was a busy month full of activity. There was a kick-off meeting on June 30, and the first draft of the new guidelines was released on July 6 with a 30-day comment period that ended on August 5. This was followed by two full days of workgroup meetings on July 13-14 in Sacramento on a variety of topics covered by the RTP Guidelines. During the week of July 18, the National Partnership co-sponsored regional workshops in LA, Oakland and Fresno with CPEHN, ClimatePlan and Public Advocates to gather feedback on the RTP process from community-based organizations working on health equity. In the latter part of the month, the National Partnership worked with over two dozen organizations to prepare comments on the guidelines, and led the creation of an 18-page comment letter that 19 organizations ultimately signed onto, that outlines recommendations on a variety of different issues that affect regional transportation planning, including:
- Increase Access and Public Participation to the RTP Process
- Strengthen Complete Streets Guidance to Empower MPOs and Incentivize Innovation
- Provide Guidance on Integrating Public Health Framework for Transportation Planning
- Institutionalize Public Health Review of RTPs
- Provide Robust Guidance on Equity, Civil Rights, & Environmental Justice Issues
- Update RTP Checklist to Meaningfully Screen for Compliance with Title VI & Environmental Justice Laws
- Make the Modeling Process More Transparent and Inclusive of Active Transportation, Public Health and Social Equity
- Incorporate Best Practices from Existing Sustainable Communities Strategies
- Encourage Greater Consistency of the RTP with State, County, Local and Other Plans
- Identify Consistent Performance Measures for All MPOs to Use
- Support Inclusion of SB 743 Implementation in the Guidelines
- Incorporate Conservation of Natural and Working Lands into the RTP Guidelines
- Identify the Impacts of Freight Investments on Health Outcomes in Disadvantaged Communities
- Require Greater Transparency in Sequencing of Transportation Projects
- Provide Greater Guidance for Rural Areas Within MPOs
The full comment letter is available here. We also worked with Public Advocates and two dozen organizations to develop a series of Principles to Guide the RTP Guidelines Update Process. The list of principles is available here.
Other partners submitted letters as well:
- Public Advocates submitted a chapter on Civil Rights and Environmental Justice, topics which get only a few paragraphs in a 300+ page guidelines document.
- The Nature Conservancy and Sequoia Riverlands Trust submitted a letter on conversation of natural and working lands, which also receive little attention in the RTP Guidelines.
- The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network submitted a letter supporting the increased emphasis on health equity and obesity prevention in the Guidelines.
The full log of comments is available here.
Next Steps: There will be another workgroup meeting in LA on August 11 where CTC and Caltrans staff will discuss the comments they have received so far, and also discuss topics such as modeling, active transportation, public health and social equity in greater detail. A second draft will be released sometime in September and there will be another comment period. The process is expected to wrap up by the end of the year, with CTC approval in December or January, and the new Guidelines going into effect in early 2017.
For more information on the RTP Guidelines Update, check out Caltrans’ website.
Also check out Streetsblog’s coverage of the RTP Guidelines here.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates on the RTP Guidelines as the process moves forward.