Daily News

2016 Update to Regional Transportation Plan Now Available

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission announced that the draft version of the 2016 update to the Regional Transportation Plan for the Pioneer Valley (RTP) is now available for public review and comment.

The RTP outlines the direction of transportation planning and improvements for the Pioneer Valley through the year 2040. Updated every four years, it provides the basis for all state- and federally funded transportation-improvement projects and planning studies. The long-range plan concentrates on both existing needs and anticipated future deficiencies in transportation infrastructure, presents preferred strategies to alleviate transportation problems, and creates a schedule of transportation-improvement projects that are financially constrained.

Prepared in concert with regional goals and objectives and the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, the RTP plays a vital role in the advancement of transportation projects and policies for the region. New information included in the RTP update includes:

• A 30-page executive summary providing an overview of the RTP process and a sampling of high-priority transportation-improvement projects included as part of the draft plan;

• Seven problem statements, developed in consultation with a series of regional focus groups, to define the overarching issues that must be addressed through the implementation of the RTP; and

• A series of 17 regional performance targets to serve as indicators of how well the Metropolitan Planning Organization is doing in advancing the goals of the RTP.

Two public meetings to solicit public comments on the draft Regional Transportation Plan are scheduled for 7 p.m. at the following locations:

• Tuesday, July 14 at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress St., Springfield; and

• Thursday, July 16 at Northampton City Hall, City Council chambers, 210 Main St., Northampton.

A third meeting for local elected officials is scheduled for Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission office. These meetings are an opportunity to learn about the transportation planning and project-development processes and to comment on the draft version of the RTP. Transportation staff will also be available for questions and comments.

Copies of the draft RTP are available for public review online at www.pvpc.org. Public comments are encouraged and may be submitted in person at the public meetings, or in writing until 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 23 to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, attention: Gary Roux.