What influences transportation decisions?
Fixing American’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), signed by President Obama on December 4, 2015, and its predecessors – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), have given the transportation industry a dramatic redirection from the major focus for highway building, which has been in place since the start of the interstate system in the 1950’s.
The FAST Act provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation, meaning States and local governments can move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, with the confidence that they will have a Federal partner over the long term. The FAST Act maintains the focus on safety, keeps intact the established structure of the various highway-related programs, continues efforts to streamline project delivery, and, for the first time, provides a dedicated source of federal dollars for freight projects. Established programs for transit, non-motorized, rail, and other infrastructure is encouraged. The FAST Act recognizes the important of planning and the process of evaluating, selecting and managing projects within the transportation program. Transportation planning historically includes setting goals and objectives, identifying plans and projects, and establishing management systems to monitor outcomes.
Every metropolitan area with a population greater than 50,000 is required to have a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to provide a forum for transportation decision-making and coordinated approach to transportation improvements. MPOs, in cooperation with state and local transportation operators and interests, are responsible for developing a 20-year long range transportation plan (LRTP) and periodic development of a 4-year programming document for implementing projects called the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). The Region 2 Planning Commission (R2PC) serves as the MPO for the Jackson Metropolitan Area and the committees which comprise the Jackson Area Comprehensive Transportation Study (JACTS) serve as advisory bodies to the R2PC. JACTS also works with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to ensure local compliance with MAP-21 and other federal and state transportation regulations.
Agencies are getting guidance on implementing some aspects of the FAST Act from state and federal agencies. Many of the components of the law are similar to MAP-21, the previous federal transportation bill, including public participation and input in all transportation plans and programs. To meet all of the criteria specified, the Region 2 Planning Commission has developed a Public Participation Plan, which provides the public with opportunities to impact and comment on the transportation decisions being made for the Jackson Metropolitan Area. The Region 2 Planning Commission also maintains an extensive mailing list of individuals, public and private organizations, and governmental units that are notified of important transportation issues and during the development process of transportation plans.
How are the plans, programs, and projects selected?
MPO’s are charged with the developing a 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan which is to be an outline of the transportation needs of the area for the next two decades. Projects programmed into the shorter four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), are to be extracted from the Long Range Transportation Plan. The cities, county road commissions, and transit agencies indicate priorities for projects under their respective jurisdictions as projects move to the TIP programming stage.
The majority of the federal funding for projects programmed in the TIP is provided through the Surface Transportation Program (STP), a block grant type of program that may be used by the States and localities for any road improvements located on roadways included on the National Functional Classification System. Transit capital projects and non-motorized projects are also eligible for funding under this program. The Jackson urban area is targeted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to receive approximately $1,600,000 annually in federal urban STP funds. The JACTS committees are also responsible for allocating approximately $ 800,000 annually in rural STP and Transportation Economic Development-Category D funds, which can only be used outside the Jackson urbanized area boundary. All projects are funded at an 80% federal/20% local match ratio. The target funding amount is based on the area population.
The Jackson Area Comprehensive Transportation Study is comprised of two committees which advise the MPO —the Region 2 Planning Commission— on transportation decisions. The JACTS Technical Advisory Committee, which is comprised of appropriate staff from units of government and modal agencies, reviews all plans and programs and makes technical recommendations to the Policy Committee. The Policy Committee includes elected and appointed officials from units of government and is responsible for reviewing recommendations from the Technical Advisory Committee and recommending formal action to be taken by the R2PC. Monthly notification of JACTS committee meetings is sent to the Jackson Citizen Patriot and the meeting schedule is available at the Region 2 Planning Commission office. All meetings of the JACTS Committees are open to the public. A public comment period is regularly scheduled on the agenda of both committees.
The various committees meet monthly on the following days and times, unless otherwise noted on the calendar page of this website:
The JACTS Technical Advisory Committee meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are held in the 10th floor Conference Room of Jackson City Hall, 161 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson.
The JACTS Policy Committee meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month, at 8:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the 5th floor Commission Chambers of the Jackson County Tower Building, 120 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson.
The Region 2 Planning Commission (MPO) meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 2:00 p.m. Meetings are held at various locations throughout the region.
Fiscal Years 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
The four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the JACTS planning area has been completed and adopted by the Region 2 Planning Commission on July 14, 2016. The document was been forwarded to MDOT, FHWA, and FTA for review and approval, which was received on October 4, 2016.
In order for any state or local agency to receive federal funding for a transportation project (e.g., road, safety, transit, maintenance, and non-motorized), it must be included in the TIP document. The TIP is required to be financially constrained by fiscal year (October 1- September 30), based on anticipated revenues, and consistent with the JACTS 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan.
Click on the following links to review and comment on the TIP and the amended project listing:
Public Participation Plan
The current participation plan was adopted as part of the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan in June 2018. Click on the link below to download a copy.
Unified Work Program (UWP)
The JACTS committees and the Region 2 Planning Commission adopt a work program each fiscal year which establishes the planning projects to be undertaken and the associated budget amount. ‘Click’ on the following link to download the current UWP:
Title VI Non-Discrimination Plan
The JACTS committees and the Region 2 Planning Commission recognize their responsibility to provide fairness and equity in all of their programs, services, and activities, and that no person will be excluded from the benefits of these programs regardless of their race, color, or national origin. ‘Click’ on the following link to download the current Title VI Non-Discrimation Plan: