While this article from StreetsBlog.org isn’t necessarily accurate when it comes to SRTC, I still think it’s important to put this out there to (hopefully) raise interest (and knowledge)in Metropolitan Planning Organizations. There are some points in the article I concur with, such as that MPOs have traditionally flown under the radar. In the five years that I’ve been with SRTC, we’ve been working hard to change that. With budget deficits and growing dissatisfaction with the government though, it’s been a challange.
So did you read the article? Then I can point out what I agree/disagree with.
– I take exception to the title. Who is SRTC strangling? I believe we do a fair job of distributing money. We went through a major effort in recent years to develop a ‘Priority Project List’ with the help of our partner agencies. When money becomes available, we go through the list and fund them in order of priority. Since the partners helped make the list, no one can argue we’re not funding the most important projects or that they’re being neglected.
– The majority of SRTC’s Board members are elected. Of 16 members, ten are elected.
– SRTC is not structured in a way that favors sprawl and undermines cities. The City of Spokane has three representatives on our Board, when you count Richard Rush who is a City Councilmember but on our Board representing the STA Board. The City of Spokane Valley also has a voting member on the Board.
– The article is right, most people DON’T know the name of their MPO or have any clue what they do. When I tell people I work for Spokane Regional Transportation Council, they usually respond with, “Oh, the bus company!” We are working on changing this though, through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, press releases, open houses, etc.
– Yes, we do disperse hundreds of millions of federal transportation dollars annually. There are several programs we receive money through, then it’s our job to distribute it, fairly, to our partner agencies.
So here is where you decide to be proactive and do further research on what we do here at SRTC. Here’s our website, so get reading. Any questions/comments?
Thanks! Great work! More people should pay attention to their MPO!
That's the other point I should have made- the more people who pay attention to their MPO and provide public comment on the projects we do, activities we take part in, etc.- the more it will be an agency run by the people. While we professionals and people who are very good at what they do on our team here, we still need feedback from the public to make sure we're doing our jobs right.