The Top of Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO) covers DeKalb County, Jackson County, portions of Limestone County, and Marshall County in northeast Alabama.
In January and February of 2003, the regulations that govern how States conduct transportation planning activities were revised to include the development and use of a consultation process with non-metropolitan local officials. In addition to developing a consultation process, States are required to provide for participation of these local officials in the statewide transportation planning process and in the development of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
In 2006, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) agreed to fund statewide non-metropolitan consultation process organized similarly to a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). MPOs conduct transportation planning processes in metropolitan areas with 50,000 or more people. TARCOG coordinates the activities of the Top of Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO).
Meant as a consultation process, the RPO is comprised of three committees:
The Policy Committee serves as the official decision-making body. The responsibilities include providing overall guidance to the planning process, review and approval of all process plans and programs, and appointing TAC and CAC members. The Policy Committee is composed of 17 members: 10 voting and 7 non-voting.
- Voting Members: Each county commission in the four rural counties, the mayors from each rural county choose a voting representative, the ALDOT 1st and 2nd Division Engineers, and the President of the Board of Directors of TARCOG.
- Non-voting members: Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator, the ALDOT Transportation Planning Engineer, the chairman of the TAC, the chairman of the CAC, the chairman of the Huntsville Area MPO, and the chairman of the Decatur Area MPO.
Technical Advisory Committee
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) provides technical support to the Policy Committee. It reviews RPO documents, studies, reports, plans and programs, and provides the Policy Committee with recommendations concerning these items from a technical perspective. The local governments, the State DOT, and selected other transportation interests are represented on the TAC.
Citizens Advisory Committee
The Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) was established to provide active public participation in the transportation planning process. The CAC reviews various RPO documents including, studies, plans and programs, and provides the Policy Committee with recommendations concerning these items. It also provides public concerns related to transportation projects and safety issues. The CAC holds four subcommittee meetings in each of the rural counties.
The CAC is made up of 16 citizens from the RPO area: Each county has four representatives on the CAC. The county commissions’ and the mayors’ representatives on the Policy Committee each appoint two members to the CAC.