WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Cape Fear Rural Planning Organization (RPO) Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) elected new officers at its January 17, 2014 meeting. Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams was elected Chair, and Whiteville Mayor Terry Mann was elected Vice Chair.
The Cape Fear Area RPO covers Brunswick, Columbus and Pender Counties and serves as the intergovernmental organization for local elected officials, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and residents of the region to work cooperatively to address transportation issues. The Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) is the RPO’s advisory board. It is made up of elected officials from Brunswick, Columbus and Pender Counties.
“As portions of our state become increasingly urbanized, it is important for those of us who live in rural areas to have a strong, effective voice in transportation and other important issues,” said Williams. “My goal as chairman is to ensure that the Cape Fear RPO is a strong voice for rural residents in the lower Cape Fear region. I look forward to working with Vice Chairman Mann, the other members of the committee, staff and elected leaders in the communities we represent to ensure that our rural transportation needs and priorities are heard.”
According to the N.C. Department of Transportation website, in 2000 the State of North Carolina recognized the need for more coordinated transportation planning in rural North Carolina areas not within a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) by enacting Chapter 136, Article 17, Section 136-210-213 of the General Statutes. This provided for the development of Rural Transportation Planning Organizations (RPOs). There are 20 Rural Planning Organizations in the State.
Although organized and tasked in a manner very similar to MPO’s, RPOs are grounded in state law rather than federal, and are intended to address and improve rural area transportation planning processes. RPOs assist the North Carolina Department of Transportation by carrying the following four core duties:
- Develop, in cooperation with the NCDOT, comprehensive transportation plans.
- Provide a forum for public participation in the transportation planning process.
- Develop and prioritize suggestions for projects that the organization believes should be included in the State’s Transportation Improvement Program.
- Provide transportation-related information to local governments and other interested organizations and persons.
Administrative support for the Cape Fear RPO is provided by the Cape Fear Council of Governments (COG). For more information, visit http://www.capefearcog.org.