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OARC and Transportation


Transportation drives economic development, and regional councils are primary drivers of the regional transportation system. Historically, many regional councils of government were developed out of federally mandated metropolitan planning organizations; we have a long history of coordinating integrated multimodal transportation programs.

Serving Ohioans

Regional councils coordinate and streamline statewide services at the regional level, leverage federal resources, and serve as stewards of Ohio’s limited resources. All Ohio regional councils have solid experience coordinating local transportation, environmental, and land-use planning projects within the framework of state and federal policy.

From Local Needs, National Systems are Built

One of a regional council’s most important goals is to identify the priorities of local communities. Traffic and commuting are among top concerns of Ohioans surveyed about problems in their regions. Development patterns – including placement of multimodal hubs and port development – can have a great impact on traffic volume and safety. Regional councils have the tools to consider all the ramifications of transportation infrastructure on a region and within the state system. Because regional councils cover multiple jurisdictions, we are experts at facilitating discussion and building consensus. We serve as a conveners, consensus builders, and facilitators as communities develop a prioritized list of regional transportation needs. When we have a list of established needs, the council works with board members, community leaders, and residents to develop complete transportation plans. We ensure that plans match up with economic development priorities. With plans in place, regional councils target limited regional resources to deliver the best return on investment for the region. Because regional councils work with both state and federal mandates, the transportation system that is built locally is also integrated with state and federal priorities.

Role of the Regional Council

Regional councils help communities find funding, develop plans to meet state and federal regulations, and connect the region’s infrastructure system. This work creates or retains jobs, provides access to education and training, maintains and upgrades bridges and roads, and positions communities for future growth. Councils also provide essential tools for community planning. We collect large amounts of data – traffic volume, census, GIS, demographic – and make that information accessible to local decision-makers in formats that are visual and understandable.

Coordinating with State and Federal Officials

Most of Ohio’s regional councils are federally mandated Metropolitan Planning Organizations that bring local officials together to determine transportation priorities and allocation of federal transportation dollars. Because we work with all the regional partners, we are uniquely qualified to develop integrated multimodal transportation systems. Regional councils work closely with districts of the Ohio Department of Transportation, with the Federal Highway Administration, with the Federal Railroad Administration, and with the U.S. Maritime Administration. We connect local economic development and trade groups with state and federal initiatives to move the work of all forward. Regional councils make the state government more efficient in the delivery of services, and help local governments leverage their state resources for their mutual benefit. In the area of transportation planning, regional councils:

  • Support the application of innovative technologies that make Ohio businesses less dependent on foreign resources

  • Promote the use of public-private partnerships to help projects move forward.

  • Assist Ohio to streamline the process between the FHWA, ODOT, and project awards. Such improved efficiencies increase the state’s purchasing power of available dollars.

  • Focus on local quality of life issues: the sustainability and livability of cities, villages, and townships.

  • Enhance multimodal freight movement and coordination, including rail, air, water and truck.

  • Rehabilitate existing infrastructure including roads, bridges, water, and sewer systems.

  • Fix, repair, and preserve existing infrastructure including roadways, bridges, and port facilities.

  • Forecast future travel demand and plan infrastructure needs.

Ohio’s regional councils are essential partners in the development of an integrated, multimodal transportation system. We represent the needs of large and small communities, organize needs and consolidate plans, and integrate local plans with national and federal resources and regulations.