*UPCOMING MEETING* The SCADC administers the South Central Alabama Rural Transportation Planning Organization (SCARPO) under a contract with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for the area inclusive of Bullock, Butler, Crenshaw, Lowndes, Macon and Pike Counties. The purpose of the Rural Transportation Planning Organization is three-fold:
- to establish a continuous and on-going rural transportation planning process similar to the metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) in urban areas;
- to identify the transportation needs and issues of the non-metropolitan areas through a variety of public involvement and awareness efforts; and
- to assist the State of Alabama in the development of the Statewide Transportation Plan (STWP) Update.
A steering committee, representing each of the six counties served by the SCADC, provides overall guidance for the rural transportation planning organization. Each county has three members on the steering committee: a county commissioner, the county engineer, and one municipal elected official. Other steering committee members include representatives from ALDOT Local Transportation Bureau and the ALDOT Southeast Region Offices, SCADC, and the South Central Alabama Area Association on Aging. Additionally, advisory committees have been formed and rural transportation stakeholders have been identified in each county. Advisory committee membership is a local decision, but is generally comprised of representatives of all local governments in the county, the county engineer, boards of education, emergency management, human resources, local industries, chamber of commerce, industrial development board, healthcare, ministerial associations, senior services, non-profit organizations and interested citizens. The South Central Alabama Rural Transportation Planning Organization planning program is open to the public. SCADC maintains a list of stakeholders by county that includes any person who has expressed an interest in rural transportation. SCADC uses these stakeholder lists for notification of rural transportation meetings to assist in the identification of rural transportation needs and issues in the region. Data gathered through the RPO planning program is sent to ALDOT in report form each year and is made available to the public through the SCADC website or upon request. SCADC also works ALDOT to prepare a regional human services coordinated transportation plan every five years as required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which includes funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs for underserved populations for elderly persons and persons with disabilities through the Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities program (Section 5310). The FAST Act also provides funding for (1) the Urbanized Area Formula Funding program (Section 5307) to make resources available to urbanized areas for transit capital and operating assistance and transportation planning in urbanized areas and (2) for the Rural Transit Assistance Program (Section 5311) to assist in the design and implementation of training and technical assistance projects and support services to meet the needs of transit operators in nonurbanized areas. The purpose of the South Central Alabama Regional Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan is to identify transportation needs and coordination opportunities specifically for those agencies eligible to receive FAST Act funds. Additionally, the plan looks at opportunities for increased coordination with those transportation providers that receive other program funds or are privately operated.