The BRTB does not exercise direct control over funding and does not implement projects, but it does perform a range of activities that promote an integrated approach to transportation development. The requirements of federal law compel the key transportation players in the region to work through the BRTB process.
The BRTB ensures compliance with federal laws and requirements
The BRTB carries out a performance-driven, outcome-based metropolitan transportation planning process by performing a range of activities that promote an integrated approach to transportation development. The BRTB activities comply with federal law and requirements, provide a regional transportation policy framework and forum for coordination, and provide technical resources for decision-making. The BRTB’s committee and subcommittee structure allow for routine meetings to ensure that BRTB members, including MDOT and public transportation providers, local jurisdictions, and additional interested parties, engage with and meet the scope of the performance based metropolitan transportation planning process.
Federal requirements inject consistency and coordination into regional transportation decision-making. The federally mandated metropolitan planning process requires all MPOs across the country to produce two basic documents—a fiscally-constrained long-range transportation plan (LRTP) with a twenty-year horizon, and a short range program known as the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) with a four-year horizon that lists projects and programs with committed funding. In order to receive federal surface transportation funding, transportation projects must be included in the LRTP and the TIP.
Federal law also requires that the region have adequate funds to build the projects listed in these two main planning documents. The funding for the LRTP and TIP must be “reasonably expected to be available,” according to federal transportation law. This financial constraint is intended to make sure the different partners in the region’s transportation system are realistically planning for the future.
In addition, the projects in the LRTP and the TIP, taken collectively, contribute to air quality improvement goals for the region. This is a requirement of the federal Clean Air Act. The BRTB must also comply with federal laws, regulations and policies stipulating that regional transportation plans must not disproportionately affect low-income or minority communities in an adverse way.