An Assessment of the New York State MPO’s during the TEA Era Study
At the time of its enactment, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) was hailed as a watershed for metropolitan transportation planning. The spirit and tone of ISTEA implied that much would change about the way transportation planning and decision-making occurs in metropolitan areas. Nearly two decades since ISTEA was enacted, however, state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in New York and across the nation have arguably achieved mixed results in implementing the requirements and achieving the expectations created by the Act and subsequent TEA era laws. As a result, there is renewed pressure for changes to the federal transportation program structure. (Note: throughout this report, ISTEA, TEA-21 – the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (1998) and SAFETEA-LU – the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Act A Legacy for Users (2005) will be referred to collectively as the TEA era laws or TEA acts; and the period from 1991 to the present as the TEA era).
With another surface transportation authorization act and the potential for major federal program changes on the near-term horizon, the New York State MPOs determined that now is an appropriate time to debrief their members and policy partners regarding the progress made in metropolitan planning during the TEA era. To this end, the Association of New York State MPOs (NYSMPO) authorized a self-assessment survey of all the New York State MPOs, detailed case studies of two MPOs the Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council (PDCTC) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) and a a targeted case study of the New York State DOT (NYSDOT) with respect to their experiences, accomplishments and challenges during the TEA era. The assessment is intended to examine the full TEA era time period, while acknowledging that the process is dynamic and there have been significant changes in recent years.