RPO elects officers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

MARION &045; The new Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RPO) elected officers and adopted bylaws for its three committees last weekend.

The organization consists of three committees: a Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee, a Technical Advisory Committee and a Policy Committee. All three held initial meetings to elect officers and decide policy.

The Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission (ATRC) has created the RPO to serve as a communication link between local governments and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). The RPO will establish a transportation planning process to help identify areas that local governments and citizens think need work from ALDOT. The RPO will serve Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox Counties.

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The program is being implemented by regional councils statewide with the help of ALDOT and is the first time that such efforts have been exerted for rural Alabama counties. ALDOT has been involved in similar planning called MPO in urban areas for a number of years.

The RPO actions involve state and federally funded roads and not city or county roads. It also is a way for the ALDOT to consider safety issues on those roadways presented by the individuals that live in the areas.

The Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee, which is composed of four members from each county, elected Brian Leathers from Grove Hill in Clarke County was chairman. Now each county must elect its chairperson, who will serve as a vice-chair of the regional committee.

The Technical Advisory Committee, consisting of engineers or each county, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and ALDOT engineers, elected Garry Grantham, a Wilcox County engineer, as chair and Lou Wallace, engineer for Alcott’s Eighth Division in Grove Hill, as vice chair.

The Policy Committee, made up of a mayor and commissioner from each county, elected Selma Mayor James Perkins as chairman and Chatom Mayor Harold Crouch as vice chair.

The next step for the organization will be quarterly meetings in each county by the Citizens Committee of that county, followed by a quarterly meeting of the other two committees to act on their recommendations.