Section 11: Metropolitan Planning Area Boundary

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Minimum Area

The metropolitan planning area boundary (MPAB) shall, at a minimum, cover the urbanized area(s) and the contiguous geographic area likely to become urbanized within the next 20‑year or 25-year forecast period covered by the MTP and shall include the boundaries required by 23 CFR §450.308.

MPABs shall be limited to the boundaries approved by the TxDOT Executive Director. For geographical areas designated as nonattainment areas or maintenance areas for transportation-related pollutants under the Clean Air Act of 1970 (CAA) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the MPABs shall include at least the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA), except as otherwise approved by the TxDOT Executive Director. Proposals to exclude a portion of the nonattainment area or maintenance area from the MPAB shall be coordinated with FHWA, FTA, EPA, and TNRCC before the final decision is made.

When there is no formal agreement between the TxDOT Executive Director and the MPO to reduce the MPAB to an area less than the boundaries of the nonattainment area or maintenance area, the entire nonattainment area or maintenance area is subject to the applicable provisions.

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Boundary Establishment

The MPABs for existing MPOs have been reviewed and approved by TxDOT. The following guidelines should be followed if the MPAB of an MPO needs adjusting or establishing.

Coordination with Other Transportation Modes. When modifying an existing MPAB or establishing a new MPAB, in accordance with 23 CFR §450.308(c), the proposed boundary should be reviewed:

  • for connectivity between modes of transportation
  • to reduce access disadvantages experienced by modal systems
  • to promote efficient overall transportation investment strategies.

Approval of Boundaries. Documentation for revisions to existing or new MPABs should include maps of the proposed boundary and supporting documentation and rationale for the proposed boundary. The maps and documentation should be forwarded to TPP through the TxDOT District Study Office. The maps and documentation will be reviewed and forwarded to the TxDOT Executive Director for approval. After TxDOT approval, copies of the MPAB maps will be forwarded to FHWA and FTA. The MPAB is effective on the date it is approved by the TxDOT Executive Director.

Required Supporting Documentation. The MPO shall submit (as indicated under Boundary Establishment in this chapter) a color map indicating the existing MPAB (if applicable) and the proposed MPAB. The existing MPAB shall be indicated by a solid red line and the proposed change or new MPAB shall be indicated by a dashed red line. The size and detail on the map should be coordinated with TPP and the District Study Office. The map should be submitted along with a letter indicating when the MPO policy board approved the new MPAB. The MPO should also provide information on the need or purpose for revising the existing MPAB. If necessary, the documentation should address how the newly incorporated area will be represented on the MPO policy board.

When all information is gathered, the District Study Office shall submit the map and documentation to TPP. TPP will review all required information and along with a recommendation submit the MPAB and documentation to the TxDOT Executive Director for approval.

The approval process may take four to six weeks. The MPO shall not incur any cost for work done in the area between the currently approved MPAB and the proposed MPAB prior to receiving approval from TxDOT, unless that work was specifically identified in the approved UPWP.

Notification of Approval. The following offices/agencies will be notified when a change to an existing MPAB or a new MPAB is approved:

  • FHWA
  • Public Transportation Division (PTN)
  • TPP – Traffic Analysis Section
  • TPP – Transportation Systems Planning Section
  • TPP – Data Management Section.
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