Public Participation Overview
Public participation is a critical component of the transportation planning process and as such is a required plan document defined in 23 CFR450.316. “The MPO shall develop and use a documented participation plan that defines a process for providing citizens, affected public agencies, representatives of public transportation employees, freight shippers, providers of freight transportation services, private providers of transportation, representatives of users of public transportation, representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities, representatives of the disabled, and other interested parties with reasonable opportunities to be involved in the metropolitan transportation planning process.” Agencies for consultation are defined as groups or agencies that would be interested in reviewing and making comment on the MPO’s planning documents and programs and may be referred to as resource agencies.
GRPC understands that the input of all participating parties contributes to the regional transportation planning process. We seek to engage individuals with knowledge and insight about the transportation needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with a pointed effort to involve members of traditionally underserved populations. These include; minorities, low-income, elderly, disabled, limited English proficiency and people with limited mobility. GRPC seeks to ensure environmental justice is duly considered in the development of projects and programs.
The Public Participation Plan (PPP) is designed to serve as a guide for public engagement throughout the transportation planning process. There are many opportunities for the public to become involved in community decision-making. Some opportunities are required by federal law, while others are provided during additional GRPC program development. Engagement strategies utilized by GRPC are discussed in the following chapters.
This plan was developed in consultation with local, state and federal officials and includes input from the public. It was available for a 45-day public review period through various strategies prior to its adoption. All outreach and engagement efforts are recorded in the MPO Participation Database.
GRPC is required by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration to develop and maintain four MPO transportation documents. Each of them contains individual plans or projects to address the needs of the metropolitan planning area. In addition to the federally required programs, GRPC also participates in various technical studies that benefit from public input.
The four required MPO transportation planning documents include:
- The 2040 Metropolitan Long-Range Transportation Plan
- The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
- Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
- Public Participation Plan (PPP)
MPO public participation goals and objectives
Public involvement and community outreach goals include:
Inform Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and other interested parties about the regional transportation planning process as well as issues and changes related to transportation
Increase community awareness of GRPC’s purpose and function, including its role as the Mississippi Gulf Coast MPO
Engage Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and other interested parties in sustained dialogue about transportation planning
GRPC public involvement and community outreach objectives include:
Provide broad-based access to GRPC activities, plans, and programs through consistent and comprehensive public outreach activities
Develop and disseminate information about the transportation planning process through multiple educational and outreach strategies appropriate for all audiences
Seek to engage all interested parties, including traditionally underserved persons, in meaningful exchange of ideas related to the transportation planning process
Establish working relationships with organizations in the region with the purpose of information exchange and regional dialog.