Professional Development and Advocacy Top Arizona’s RPO and MPO Priorities
Since the late 1990s, Arizona’s small urban MPOs and rural councils of governments (COGs) have collaborated to host an annual Rural Transportation Summit to enhance professional development for planning staff, elected officials, technical committee members and other stakeholders. The annual event provides a valuable forum for peer networking and information sharing among the MPOs and COGs, which staff the state’s regional rural transportation planning program.
One result of the discussions held at early summits was the decision by the MPOs and COGs to form the Rural Transportation Advocacy Council (RTAC) in 2001. The council’s executive board, comprising
local elected officials appointed by each RTAC member COG or MPO board, sets the legislative agenda. Funded through member dues, RTAC is staffed by a legislative liaison who plays an important role in this planning effort by making sure local officials stay informed and educated. The legislative liaison delivers a comprehensive message on federal and state legislative issues, provides regular and timely legislative updates on rural transportation issues, and monitors activities at the state DOT.
Chris Fetzer, Planning Director for the Northern Arizona Council of Governments, notes that the overarching benefit of having a liaison has been the recognition of a strong, collective rural and small metropolitan voice within the state legislature.
Amid recent rapid population growth across the state, much attention in Arizona often turns to the major metropolitan areas where increasing congestion and rapid development are most readily apparent. But the small urban MPOs and rural COGs’ partnership ensures that a unified voice for rural and small metropolitan regions—where many communities are also dealing with explosive growth—is heard in the state legislature and statewide transportation planning process.
For more information, visit www.rtac.net.
For checklists with collaboration action items, please visit
- MPOs and RPOs build relationships through sharing of plans, priorities and data
- Neighboring transportation plannign organizations establish formal relationships
- MPOs and RPOs enhance professional development, knowledge exchange and networking for policy board officials, committee members and staff
For additional resources on MPO and RPO collaboration, please click here.