MPO History and Purpose

A transportation planning process in the Tri-Cities Area was first organized on March 21, 1974 by cooperative agreement between the Crater Planning District Commission and the Virginia Department of Highways pursuant to Section 9 of the Federal Highway Act of 1962, approved October 23, 1962, amended Chapter 1 of Title 23, Unites States Code by the addition of a new Section 134 which reads as follows:

"It is declared to be in the national interest to encourage and promote the development of transportation systems embracing various modes of transport in a manner that will serve the States and Local communities efficiently and effectively. To accomplish this objective, the Secretary shall cooperate with the States, as authorized in this Title, in the development of long-range highway plans and programs which are properly coordinated with plans for improvements in other affected forms of transportation and which are formulated with due consideration to their probable effect on the future development of urban areas of more than fifty thousand population..."

The Cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and the Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George entered into subsequent agreements in support of a continuing transportation planning process for the metropolitan area. On November 7, 1979 Virginia's Secretary of Transportation designated the Tri-Cities Area Policy Committee as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for this portion of the Commonwealth. Representatives from the 6 local governments, along with agencies with responsibilities for transportation planning, comprise the membership of the Tri-Cites Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

Today, the MPO consists of a Policy Committee, comprised still primarily of local government elected representatives, and a Technical Committee, comprised of planning and/or engineering staff appointees. The Tri-Cities MPO is part of the Richmond Urbanized areas and has cooperative agreements with regional and State transportation and air quality planning agencies. The Tri-Cities MPO, located in southeastern portion of Virginia, is within the I-85, I-95 and I-295 travel corridors. The Tri-Cities MPO supports a multi-modal transportation system with highway, transit, rail, pedestrian and bicycle transportation accessible to its population.

The Policy Committee serves as the MPO's policy board, and is the chief regional authority responsible for cooperative development and approval of the core transportation planning activities and products for the urbanized region including:

  • the MPO budget and Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP); and
  • the Constrained Long Range Transportation Plan (CLRP); and
  • the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) including all regionally significant projects regardless of their funding source; and
  • the Congestion Management Program (CMP) in TMA areas; and
  • the Participation Plan; and
  • ensuring all planning and programming documents are developed in accordance with the federal requirements (including consultation with relevant land use management, environmental and planning agencies, coordination and consistency of plans and programs with related SAFETEA-LU transportation elements, and, if applicable, planning and transportation conformity findings)