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CAMPO policy board grants broader power to advisory committee

Monday, January 17, 2011 by Kimberly Reeves

Last week, CAMPO’s Transportation Policy Board further defined the purpose and direction of its Technical Advisory Committee, a group that will be hammering out broad changes in the near future.


Gordon Derr, assistant director of Austin’s Transportation Department and chair of CAMPO’s Technical Advisory Board, provided an update to the Transportation Policy Board in a work session prior to last night’s monthly meeting.


The session centered on a survey ranking priorities for the advisory committee. While there was some confusion as to whether the ranking process was consistent – some members ranked every option while others ranked only a few – three priorities rose to the top: developing criteria to prioritize federal STP MM funding for projects intended to address metropolitan mobility; creating a definition for “centers,” where CAMPO now intends for half of the STP MM money to go; and deciding whether future transit funding should be limited to Capital Metro or include similar efforts in other communities.


Decisions such as these would appear to usurp some of the Transportation Policy Board’s purpose, broadening the purview of a subordinate technical advisory committee to include policy-making. But policy board members did not protest the committee’s power to set direction for the board.


In fact, the Transportation Policy Board voted to approve a motion by Council Member Chris Riley to grant the Technical Advisory Committee, using input from the full board, the power to create its own mission statement and work plan, incorporating the input of the broader work plan. Those items would then go back to the full board for approval.


The Transportation Policy Board also approved approximately $140,000 in regional bottleneck traffic projects under remaining federal STP MM funds. According to new estimates, the region sits on $550,000, which can be used to address regional traffic planning. Any excess funds would carry over another year for future projects. Chair Sam Biscoe said his preference would be to see Caldwell County incorporated in the planning effort, an idea that will be considered by the full board next month.


The board also approved amendments to the current Transportation Improvement Plan, including popular items such as safe routes to schools in Austin and sidewalks along Airport Boulevard.

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