Mr. Moore may have been thinking of the NPRM on statewide and metropolitan transportation planning, implementing TEA-21, which was issued last year but withdrawn following the public comment period, pending reworking and review by the new administration.  In the meantime, FHWA has issued some interim guidance.  Perhaps someone from FHWA can enlighten us as to the status of this proposed rulemaking, and whether it is likely to affect the procedure for defining the metropolitan transportation study area boundary, the metropolitan (PL) area boundary (which is supposed to include the area expected to become urbanized within the next 20 years), and the FHWA urbanized area boundary.  As I understand the current rule, this is a set of nesting boundaries, each inclusive of the next, and all inclusive of the entire most recent Census urbanized area boundary.

Glen Ahlert
Staff Director
Lee County MPO
Fort Myers, Florida

ed christopher wrote:

Bill Moore wrote:

> Can anyone tell me what the status of the proposed rulemaking and procedures
> for defining the "3C" area is?  I've had a request from a member district to
> expedite the expansion of our boundaries and I'd like to know how best to
> accomplish this or, when newly defined boundaries will be available from
> Census.  Thanks for any assistance anyone can provide...

let me take a shot at this but first i need to sort out a few terms.  let's call
the 3C area the boundary that an MPO does its planning for--the MPO planning
boundary.  In terms of rules and process, the MPO planning boundary is set at
the discretion of the locals and the governor, not by rule or regulation.  If I
recall the guidance that was put out on this after ISTEA it said something about
including the Census defined Urbanized area and the contiguous area expected to
become urban in the next 20 years--but the precise boundary is a local/state

Other boundaries of relevance (or confusion) worth considering in setting the
MPO boundary.  The non-attainment boundary if you are a non-attainment area for
air quality.  I believe we are all hanging on the EPA and some residual court
cases for the new boundaries to be issues.  Someone else might be able to help

Another boundary in the mix of things is the Census Defined Urbanized Area
boundary.  This is the the boundary that the Census Bureau Defines that
identifies the Urbanized population for figuring out things like what areas are
and are not MPOs and TMAs.  It is this boundary which the Census promises to
have defined by the spring of 2002, and the one that they put out the proposed
rules on how they would calculate it this past March.  See for some more detail.  Also, it will
take a whole separate discussion to get into what is the status of the criteria
and a potential re-release of the proposed criteria.  Suffice it to say that the
Urbanized area boundary will be defined by Census in spring of 2002.
(Typically, the Census Urbanized area is smaller that the MPO planning area.)

Another boundary that has all but disappeared is know as the Federal Aid
Adjusted Urbanized Boundary.  Us old guys know it as the boundary where we got
to adjust the Census Urbanized boundary to smooth it out, bring in major trip
attractors, and bring in areas thought to be urban, etc.  There currently are
discussions underway within DOT to eliminate the notion of this boundary and
many believe that the highway program funding changes of ISTEA and later in
TEA21 diminished the need for this level of defined geography.  (more on this
latter too.)

So, to answer Bill's question after next Spring when the Census defines the
Urbanized Area Boundary regions will have the starting geography from which to
proceed.  However, this will only tell you what you population will be for MPO
designation and of course the area.  As to what your entire MPO planning
boundary ought to be I would imagine that it should be worked out locally with
the state and FHWA division folks.

Ed Christopher
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street   SW
Washington DC  20590