Raleigh, NC -Governor Pat McCrory announced today additional funding for Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) that will assist the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) with transportation planning in rural areas across the state. NCDOT provides grants to help cover the cost of this work. While the amount of work for the RPOs has increased over the years, funding has not. To help cover the costs of these additional responsibilities, NCDOT is increasing the amount of funds granted to each RPO by $8,800-$11,000.
"North Carolina's rural communities have been hit hard by the recession," said Governor McCrory. "It is important that we do everything possible to better connect people in these areas with jobs and opportunities. The Department of Transportation's funding and support of our Rural Planning Organizations will seek to do just that."
North Carolina's 19 RPOs serve five core functions:
- Coordinate, assist and develop local and regional transportation plans;
- Provide a forum for public participation in the transportation planning and project implementation process;
- Develop and prioritize projects for the department's new Strategic Transportation Investment process;
- Provide transportation-related information to local governments; and
- Coordinate regional issues between contiguous Metropolitan Planning Organizations, RPOs and other regional organizations.
"Our rural partners make substantial investments in planning for their transportation future and we're pleased to provide increased support for their efforts," said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata."Their work is an important part of our strong collaboration to enhance our transportation network and better connect North Carolinians to greater opportunities."
Federal State Planning and Research Funds provide 80 percent of the funds and local governments contribute the remaining 20 percent of funds. Each RPO currently receives between $83,700 and $104,625; those that serve more than three counties or have a population greater than 50,000 receive more funds.
RPOs were established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2000 and have been nationally recognized for their innovative work.