An article in the Spokesman-Review’s ‘Getting There’ column today talks about SRTC’s recent Federal Certification Review. The Certification process takes place every four years and is a review by the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Washington State Department of Transportation to make sure we’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing. It’s so basically a performance evaluation for the entire agency.

As I’ve said here before, SRTC has gone through some big changes recently. Our former director left last year and our new Executive Director has been here about four months. He’s working with us to take a look at where we’re going as an agency and how we do things. However, based on where we’ve been, we knew in advance that there would be some changes recommended in the certification review. So I wasn’t too surprised today when I saw the Spokesman article saying SRTC “is getting its knuckles rapped” in the review. We prefer to look at it as “getting new direction.”

A couple of things the review pointed out and that are in the Spokesman article include that we failed to include public transit and other alternatives to automobile travel in our main transportation plans,
our Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) fails to account for fiscal constraints on its proposed projects, and the MTP doesn’t adequately address how public comments are handled.

There were also some positive aspects noted in the review, including SRTC undertaking the Inland Pacific Hub study, a business-inspired planning effort to identify freight mobility needs, and conducting the Transportation Vision Project to identify the region’s transportation future for the long term.

As I said, we’ve known this was coming and have already been working to address the issues, even before receiving the certification report a couple weeks ago. For instance, there is a huge effort underway here to revamp the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. We’re not just redlining the old one, we’re starting over completely, beginning with identifying our ‘core values’ and how they translate into guiding principles. The new MTP will be developed around these guiding principles and be a completely different document than the one we have today.

We’re choosing to view this review as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to improve the way we do things and the service we offer. It’s an opportunity to take a close look at how we do things, and why, and determine if that’s still the best way to do things. Times change and you have to change with them to a certain degree, and this is our chance to do so.

So enough of me rambling on, here’s the article if you want to read it. Have any questions?

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