Every four years, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) spend three days at SEMCOG conducting a review of SEMCOG’s compliance with all of the federal requirements of the urban transportation planning process. Our last certification review was in 2008, so the FHWA and FTA, in concert with SEMCOG, will be conducting the certification meeting in SEMCOG offices on January 11-13, 2012. A public meeting will be held from 4-7 p.m. on January 11 to allow members of the public to come and speak to representatives of the FHWA and FTA and give their opinions on how well SEMCOG has been implementing the federal requirements.
The certification process is designed to allow for SEMCOG and the federal agencies to review and discuss how SEMCOG is implementing the federal transportation planning requirements – what SEMCOG is doing well and perhaps some things that we can improve upon. Examples of how other areas are implementing certain requirements are also given, so we can review them and see if they would work here in Southeast Michigan. A summary review is developed at the end of the certification. It is usually summarizes the findings into three sections – commendations – things we are doing exceptionally well, comments – things to work on, and corrective actions – requirements that we are flat out not addressing.
The meeting is open to the public and an agenda will soon be posted on our Web site to let you know what we are going to discuss. In fact, we have already developed a Web site that gives you a little more information on the certification process, the results of the review in 2008, and what we have done to address the comments made at that time. View that information at www.semcog.org/Certification.aspx. Our last review concluded that we were meeting the requirements well and that we had developed some best practices. We have been working to address the comments that have been made.
Why is this important? Well, it is important for the federal agencies to conclude that the requirements are being met in order to keep the region eligible for federal funding. We take this very seriously and work hard to ensure we are addressing the federal requirements.
I invite all of you to try to attend the meetings. If you can’t, please consider coming the afternoon of January 11 to let the feds know how well we are doing in addressing the transportation requirements. If you can’t come that night, send an e-mail or letter to Andy Picard or Stewart McKenzie at the address on the public notice. Remember, you can tell them good things too!