Metropolitan Planning Organization Reform

Overview

Since the early 1990s, federal law has increased the authority of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and pending federal legislation is likely to give them additional spending powers and responsibilities.

Yet, as important arms of local government, MPOs are problematic and most could benefit from reforms that:

  1. Give MPOs sufficient authority to guide regional planning rather than to simply approve or veto local requests for federal funds.
  2. Establish elected board members or population-proportional appointments.
  3. Institute performance standards aligned with state and national policies.

This short report by the Center for State Innovation outlines common shortcomings among MPOs and how MPOs could be reorganized to better represent and benefit their communities.