23 CFR 450.312 - Metropolitan Planning Area boundaries.
(a) At a minimum, the boundaries of an MPA shall encompass the entire existing UZA (as defined by the Bureau of the Census) plus the contiguous area expected to become urbanized within a 20-year forecast period for the metropolitan transportation plan.
(1) Subject to this minimum requirement, the boundaries of an MPA shall be determined through an agreement between the MPO and the Governor.
(2) If two or more MPAs otherwise include the same non-urbanized area that is expected to become urbanized within a 20-year forecast period for the transportation plan, the Governor and the relevant MPOs are required to agree on the final boundaries of the MPA or MPAs such that the boundaries of the MPAs do not overlap. In such situations, the Governor and MPOs are encouraged, but not required, to combine the MPAs into a single MPA. Merger into a single MPA also require the MPOs to merge in accordance with the redesignation procedures described in § 450.310(h), unless the Governor and MPO(s) determine that the size and complexity of the MPA make multiple MPOs appropriate, as described in § 450.310(e).
(3) The MPA boundaries may be further expanded to encompass the entire metropolitan statistical area or combined statistical area, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.
(b) The boundaries for an MPA that includes an UZA designated as a nonattainment area for ozone or carbon monoxide under the Clean Air Act ( 42 U.S.C. 7401et seq.) after August 10, 2005, may be established to coincide with the designated boundaries of the ozone and/or carbon monoxide nonattainment area, in accordance with this section and the requirements in § 450.310(b).
(c) An MPA boundary may encompass more than one UZA, but each UZA must be included in its entirety.
(d) MPA boundaries may be established to coincide with the geography of regional economic development and growth forecasting areas.
(e) Identification of new UZAs within an existing MPA by the Bureau of the Census shall not require redesignation of the existing MPO.
(f) In multistate metropolitan areas, the Governors with responsibility for a portion of the multistate metropolitan area, the appropriate MPO(s), and the public transportation operator(s) are strongly encouraged to coordinate transportation planning for the entire multistate metropolitan area. States involved in such multistate transportation planning may:
(1) Enter into agreements or compacts, not in conflict with any law of the United States, for cooperative efforts and mutual assistance in support of activities authorized under this section as the activities pertain to interstate areas and localities within the States; and
(2) Establish such agencies, joint or otherwise, as the States may determine desirable for making the agreements and compacts effective.
(g) The MPA boundaries shall not overlap with each other.
(h) Subject to paragraph (i) of this section, where the Governor(s) and MPO(s) have determined that the size and complexity of the MPA make it appropriate to have more than one MPO designated for an MPA, the MPOs within the same MPA shall, at a minimum:
(1) Establish written agreements that clearly identify coordination processes, the division of transportation planning responsibilities among and between the MPOs, and procedures for joint decisionmaking and the resolution of disagreements;
(3) Establish the boundaries for each MPO within the MPA, by agreement among all affected MPOs and the Governor(s).
(i) Upon written request from all MPOs in an MPA and the Governor(s) of each State in the MPA, the Secretary may approve an exception to the requirements for a single metropolitan transportation plan, a single TIP, and jointly-established targets if the request satisfies the following requirements.
(1) The written request must include documentation showing compliance with the requirements in paragraph (h)(2) of this section is not feasible for reasons beyond the reasonable control of the Governor(s) and MPOs, such as clear and convincing evidence that
(i) The MPOs cannot meet paragraph (h)(2) requirements because of the extraordinary size of the MPA, the large number of MPOs or State/local governmental jurisdictions required to participate, and/or because of Clean Air Act planning requirements; or
(ii) Complying with paragraph (h)(2) requirements would produce adverse results that contravene the effective regional planning purposes of paragraph (h)(2).
(2) The request must include documentation demonstrating that:
(i) The MPOs already use coordinated planning procedures that result in consistent plans, TIPs, performance targets, and air quality conformity analyses and other planning products that effectively address regional transportation and air quality issues;
(ii) The MPOs have jointly adopted a formal written agreement with adequate procedures for coordination among the MPOs to achieve the effective regional planning purposes of paragraph (h)(2) of this section; and
(3) Based on the documentation provided with the request, the Secretary will determine whether to approve an exception to the requirements of paragraph (h)(2) of this section. If the Secretary determines that the request does not meet the requirements established under this paragraph, the Secretary will send the MPOs and Governor(s) a written notice of the denial of the exception, including a description of the deficiencies. The Governor(s) and MPOs shall have 90 days from receipt of the notice to address the deficiencies identified in the notice and submit supplemental information addressing the identified deficiencies to the Secretary for review and a final determination. The Secretary may extend the 90-day period to cure deficiencies upon request.
(4) An approved exception is permanent. When FHWA and FTA do certification reviews and make planning findings, FHWA and FTA will evaluate whether the MPOs covered by the exception are sustaining effective coordination processes that meet the requirements in paragraphs (i)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section.
(j) The Governor(s) and MPO(s) (in cooperation with the State and public transportation operator(s)) shall review the MPA boundaries after each Census to determine if existing MPA boundaries meet the minimum statutory requirements for new and updated UZA(s), and the Governor(s) and MPOs shall adjust them as necessary in order to encompass the entire existing UZA(s) plus the contiguous area expected to become urbanized within the 20-year forecast period of the metropolitan transportation plan. If after a Census, two previously separate UZAs are defined as a single UZA, not later than 2 years after the release of the U.S. Bureau of the Census notice of the Qualifying Urban Areas for a decennial census, the Governor(s) and MPO(s) shall redetermine the affected MPAs as a single MPA that includes the entire new UZA plus the contiguous area expected to become urbanized within the 20-year forecast period of the metropolitan transportation plan. As appropriate, additional adjustments should be made to reflect the most comprehensive boundary to foster an effective planning process that ensures connectivity between modes, improves access to modal systems, and promotes efficient overall transportation investment strategies. If more than one MPO is designated for UZAs that are merged following a Decennial Census by the Bureau of the Census, the Governor(s) and the MPOs shall comply with the MPA boundary and MPO boundaries agreement provisions in §§ 450.310 and 450.312, and the Governor(s) and MPOs shall determine whether the size and complexity of the MPA make it appropriate for there to be more than one MPO designated within the MPA. If the size and complexity of the MPA do not make it appropriate to have multiple MPOs, the MPOs shall merge, in accordance with the redesignation procedures in § 450.310(h). If the size and complexity do warrant the designation of multiple MPOs within the MPA, the MPOs shall comply with the requirements for jointly established performance targets, and a single metropolitan transportation plan and TIP for the entire MPA, before the next metropolitan transportation plan update that occurs on or after 2 years after the release of the Qualifying Urban Areas for the Decennial Census by the Bureau of the Census.
(k) The Governor and MPOs are encouraged to consider merging multiple MPAs into a single MPA when:
(1) Two or more UZAs are adjacent to each other;
(2) Two or more UZAs are expected to expand and become adjacent within a 20-year forecast period for the transportation plan; or
(3) Two or more neighboring MPAs otherwise both include the same non-UZA that is expected to become urbanized within a 20-year forecast period for the metropolitan transportation plan.
(l) Following MPA boundary approval by the MPO(s) and the Governor, the MPA boundary descriptions shall be provided for informational purposes to the FHWA and the FTA. The MPA boundary descriptions shall be submitted either as a geo-spatial database or described in sufficient detail to enable the boundaries to be accurately delineated on a map.