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By | May 1st, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization (YMPO) is one of over 400 MPOs in the Nation. An MPO is required in each Urbanized Area that has 50,000 persons, or more, as measured by the US Census Bureau during the decennial census. Arizona has eight MPOs and YMPO is the third largest, after the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Pima Association of Governments. MPOs are governed by Regional Councils or Executive Boards which primarily comprise elected representatives from the agencies in the area that they serve.

The main role for an MPO is to coordinate the transportation planning efforts for their respective regions. The Federal Highway and Transit Administrations usually implement changes through the respective State Departments of Transportation (DOTs). As a result, even though States have a major role in the transportation decision-making process, their role tends to be limited because of the respective authority that Counties, Townships, Cities, Towns and Indian Communities exercise. The State DOT’s roles vary from State to State because of the respective authorities of the other parties.

As a result, the US DOT created the MPOs to ensure that an ‘independent’ organization, representing separate metro areas was made responsible for planning and coordinating regional transportation efforts.

YMPO not only represents the Yuma urbanized area, but is also responsible for the whole of Yuma County and has been doing so since 1983. YMPO prepares a Long-Range Transportation Plan for a minimum of 20 years that includes all transportation projects funded with federal funds and any other major project that might affect the regional modelled network, regardless of funding source. YMPO also prepares a much more detailed Transportation Improvement Program that is only five years long and breaks down projects into the development phases and is much more detailed regarding funds committed.

As the region is in nonattainment for two air quality pollutants, YMPO has to show that the LRTP and the TIP doesn’t make air quality any worse by carrying out an Air Quality Conformity Analysis as part of the development process for each plan.

Currently the main surface priorities for YMPO are to widen US-95 between the eastern boundary of the City of Yuma (at about Araby Road) northwards to Aberdeen Road. This supports the largest civilian employer in the region, the Yuma Proving Grounds. This segment of US-95 is the highest traffic volume segment of a State Route in the State that does not have a four-lane section. The next step is to get US-95 improved to an all-weather surface through to I-10 in Quartzsite. Follow-on priorities, such as widening of Juan Sanchez Boulevard in San Luis to connect to SR-195 and the construction of the Avenue E alignment from SR-195 to County 18th Street, have been identified but have not, formally, been approved at this time.

For further information, please contact Paul Ward or Charles Gutierrez at or on 928-783-8911.


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