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RPO holds joint committee meetings

THOMASVILLE &8212; A meeting between several committees of the rural planning organization and members of the Alabama Department of Transportation Wednesday was the next step in improving the county&8217;s roads.

According to Brandy Wilkerson, planning director at Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission, who helps facilitate these meetings, the joint meeting was a success.

The rural planning organization is based on a region made up of 10 counties with three different committees: a citizens committee, a technical committee and a policy committee. This RPO includes a region containing Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox counties.

The citizens committee is responsible for getting together ideas about what projects should be considered by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Then the technical committee, which consists of ALDOT engineers and county engineers for each of the counties, can look at the projects and decide which ones warrant a response based on their information.

Then the policy committee, which consists of mayors and county commissioners in each county, can petition to see the work done.

According to Wilkerson, the citizens committees have seen 84 percent participation, the technical committees have seen 100 percent participation and the policy committees have seen 75 percent participation, therefore all of the committees have been able to establish a quorum and conduct business.

A large part of the committees&8217; job is to solicit responses from residents of their areas about what areas need to be fixed, specifically county roads in disrepair. Wilkerson said they already have compiled a list of 130 safety suggestions for the RPO to work on.

Although the RPO does not have any financial input for these projects, Wilkerson said she views these committees as a means of getting organized information across to the state so that citizens can see a quicker result.