Representatives to conduct review of planning process
By Ashley Luthern
Representatives from two federal agencies will be in the Mahoning Valley next week to conduct a certification review of the transportation planning process for the Valley, which is handled through Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
The review occurs every four years and members of the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration will visit the downtown Eastgate office Wednesday and next Thursday, said Kathleen Rodi, Eastgate director of transportation.
John R. Getchey, Eastgate executive director, said the review is a standard part of operations.
“We’ve been around since 1973 as a metropolitan planning organization and this is to continue the process of getting projects funded that have transit components and to be re-certified,” Getchey said.
As part of the review, a one-hour public meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. next Wednesday at Eastgate, 100 E. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown.
Rodi said any Valley residents who are interested are welcome to attend.
“They want to hear from the public,” she said. “They want to look at how are we coordinating activities, how we involve the general public in the process, which we try to do even though a lot of projects don’t require public meetings.”
The federal agencies will examine coordination between the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4, the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office and local transit agencies, Rodi said.
Part of the certification review includes progress reports from the last certification review done in 2009.
The three recommendations from the certification review were: continue to develop “Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Timebound” (SMART) objections in the regional congestion-management program; monitor the environmental justice impacts of local transit service cutbacks and work with transit providers to limit the effects of the cutbacks; and update the regional bicycle and pedestrian plan, according to records.
Rodi said Eastgate has followed the recommendations and will present that information during the site visit by federal representatives.
The certification review process began in May and will conclude in the fall, Rodi said. The final report is usually about 14 pages, she added.