NE Pa. Counties Face 25-Year
Transportation Planning Mandate
SHOHOLA — Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA), the regional planning organization that funds transportation projects in four counties, including Pike, held a conference in late June in Bushkill to brief county and municipal officials on a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) transportation planning requirement.
Pike County Office of Community Planning’s Director of Planning Mike Mrozinski briefed the Pike County Planning Commission at their regular June meeting about the FHWA policy and the conference, which was held at the Bushkill Conference Center on Bushkill Falls Road. Kate McMahon, a NEPA Transportation spokesperson, said in an interview last week with the Pike County Dispatch that the 2010 federal Census identified Monroe County’s Stroudsburg area as a metropolitan urban center. Previously, FHWA listed Stroudsburg as part of a rural area.
FHWA requires 25-year transportation plans from metropolitan urban areas. Previously, FHWA considered four of the seven counties that NEPA serves, Pike, Monroe, Schuylkill, and Carbon, as rural counties. In the past year, Pike, Monroe, Carbon, and Schuylkill became a Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MPO). Once Monroe became an urban county because of Stroudsburg, NEPA included the other three counties in the MPO block as urban, noted McMahon.
Mrozinski said that previously, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and NEPA worked on a 12-year planning model. According to Mrozinski, FHWA is requiring urban areas to plan not just for highways and major roads and bridges, but for mass transit, regional bus transit services, pedestrian, bicycle, rail, and air transportation resources. FHWA has not announced any new funding streams for the 25-year plan, but Mrozinski said that NEPA has retained consultants to assess and evaluate transportation needs in the four counties... for complete story, get this week's issue.