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Cookeville Metropolitan Planning Organization Depends On Census

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Metropolitan Planning Organization Depends On Census

Cookeville is anticipating a transition to a Metropolitan Planning Organization depending on the final results of the 2020 census.

Federal transportation legislation requires all urbanized areas of 50,000 people or more to maintain its own transportation plan. Planning Department Director Jon Ward said other surrounding Putnam communities are also expected to be grouped in the organization.

“It’s T-DOT,” Ward said. “They determine the classification. They would be making the determination if we have reached the threshold to transition from participating in the RPO with several other counties and cities in the southern portion of the Upper Cumberland or transition to a MPO.”

The city is currently a part of the Center Hill Rural Planning Organization for transportation planning. That group includes seven counties including Putnam. Ward said the area having its own organization could change funding and project opportunities available.

“We really don’t know all the changes that would be involved,” Ward said. “We did participate in some of T-DOT’s MPO conferences in the 2020 calendar year. There will be more requirements for how we plan for street improvements, how we prepare plans and maintain plans and how often they have to be updated.”

Ward said a decision would be made in 2021, but it could take up to 2022 to fully establish. Ward said he expects that the Metropolitan Planning Organization to be similar to other in the state like Knoxville and Nashville.

According to T-DOT, responsibilities are administered by an Executive Board and a Technical Committee. The Executive Board provides policy direction, and is made of locally-elected officials and the Governor of Tennessee. The Technical Committee provides technical expertise and is comprised of professional planners and engineers from local governments and other transportation related agencies.

Ward said the possibility of the transition is included in the Cookeville’s Planning Department annual report, which is expected to be presented in February,


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