NIRPC to take action to meet federal requirements

2014-01-02T15:30:00Z 2014-01-02T16:59:18Z NIRPC to take action to meet federal requirementsBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

Two federal transportation agencies have issued a certification report on the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission calling for improvement in 11 areas, corrective action in one, and commending the agency in four others.

NIRPC must show progress in addressing the recommendations and corrective action to maintain its federal certification as a Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Two of the recommendations dealt with improving transparency in NIRPC's Transportation Improvement Plan, which doles out hundreds of millions of dollars in highway and transit funds in four-year cycles.

NIRPC will stay in regular contact with the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration as it seeks to make progress on each of the 11 recommendations, said NIRPC Executive Director Tyson Warner.

The one corrective action requires NIRPC to update its Intelligent Transportation Systems Architecture within one year. The report states the architecture is needed to guide the deployment of intelligent transportation systems in the region.

Intelligent transportation systems include real-time traffic monitoring and reports to motorists via signs, wireless and other means so they can avoid congested areas and reduce air pollution.

Commendations for NIRPC came for its award-winning 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan, planning of bike and pedestrian trails, environmental justice analysis and its effort to work with state and federal transportation agencies to better understand the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The commendations in particular, I'm not sure we've ever had so many before, but we're pleased to see them here in black and white," Warner said.

Since 2006, NIRPC and a number of local transit agencies have been under a federal court order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as a result of a lawsuit by the disability-rights group Everybody Counts.

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