Region 2 Planning Affiliation

The Region 2 Planning Affiliation (RPA 2) is the area designated by the Iowa Department of Transportation for transportation planning and programming for the NIACOG Region.  The RPA 2 and NIACOG coverage area is the same.  Just as NIACOG assists member units of government with planning, grant writing, grant administration, transit, technical assistance, community development, research and other assistance, NIACOG provides staff for administration of RPA 2.  RPA 2 began with the

enactment of ISTEA in the early 1990’s and has continued through, TEA -21, SAFETEA-LU and now MAP-21.  All of these bills place a heavy emphasis on local decision making processes.  The purpose of the RPA system in Iowa is to give cities, counties and the general public the authority to determine, at the local level, their own transportation infrastructure priorities.

To that end, RPA 2 has four (4) primary committees as described below which carry out the requirements of MAP-21.  The committees involve citizens, staff persons and local elected officials.  The involvement of these persons has been crucial and successful in implementing the transportation planning process.  Iowa DOT, FHWA, FTA and NIACOG staff are considered members of each of the committees, but are also non-voting.   See By-Laws for Committee makeup and voting rights of each Committee.

The Transportation Policy Board consists of seventeen (17) voting members comprised primarily of local elected officials from the eight counties and cities within.  The Policy Board is responsible for determining policy and to annually approve the Transportation Improvement Program, Transportation Planning Work Program, and the Long Range Transportation Plan as well as other required documents.  It is the charge of the Policy Board to foster a regional vision, with the assistance of the other committees and to guide the other committees in the direction of that vision.

NIACOG Title VI Plan and Assurances

The Regional Technical Committee consists of fourteen (14) voting members and is comprised primarily of city and county staff persons, but also includes citizens who are involved in community betterment and transportation.  Each of the eight county engineers, as well as public works directors, city engineers, community planners and the two transit system administrators serve.  The Technical Committee is primarily responsible for STP funded road and bridge projects; is responsible for review of technical aspects of all projects which are proposed for the TIP; and to make recommendations to the Policy Board.  The Technical Committee is most aware of each county's and city's ability to maintain the current transportation system, and can assess future needs within the context of future financial ability. 

The Transportation Alternatives Committee, formerly the Enhancement Advisory Committee involves the greatest percentage of citizen volunteers.  County Conservation Board Directors comprise the largest portion of this committee because of their knowledge of plans for recreation and conservation areas in each of their counties.  Other members are from local interest groups involved with historic preservation, bicycle organizations, tourism and environmental preservation.

Transportation Alternative (TA) Set-Aside Process Information

The Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) can consist of passenger transportation providers, Region 2 Transit, Mason City Transit, Elderbridge Area Agency on Aging, United Way of North Central Iowa, Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, RPA 2 staff, IDOT staff, school districts, private business, members of the public, and anyone else interested in passenger transportation.  The TAG tries to meet on a monthly basis to discuss needs and gaps in delivery of passenger transportation in the RPA 2 area and to review and evaluate projects implemented to meet the identified needs. 
Specific work elements are required of the RPA and include the following, as well as a description of each below:

The TPWP is the document and that defines how much time and funding will be devoted to each element listed above and what activities are proposed to be conducted under each.  In other words, those work activities proposed to be accomplished for the fiscal year.  TPWP also encompasses managing the overall transportation planning administration in RPA 2. 
The TIP is a programming document developed through meetings of the Policy Board, Transportation Alternatives Committee and the Technical Committee.  This is the federal aid project list for the NIACOG Region. STP requests begin review at the Technical Committee, then Policy Board for inclusion in the TIP.  The Policy Board has final say over all projects submitted for the RPA.  NIACOG then develops the TIP documents and submits it to the State.
The PPP is a document that defines the process, as well as the process itself, by which the interested parties are notified or made aware of the transportation activities in the Region.  Media such as newspaper, radio, and television can be used to inform the general public of important transportation information.  Direct mail to member cities and counties is also utilized, and generally announces funding timelines, grant opportunities, and other relevant transportation information.
LRTP encompasses a LRTP document as well as a process of long term planning with cities and counties in the Region.  The LRTP document is developed with input from member cities and counties, or their designated representatives on the RPA 2 Transportation committees and identifies goals and priorities to maintain and improve the transportation system in the area.  LRTP also includes NIACOG staff assisting member cities and counties with short and long range plans covering land use, economic development, environment and other factors that will impact or be impacted by transportation decisions.
The TA element of RPA 2 is by far the biggest component of Transportation Planning in Region 2.  TA could be anything from referring people to a website, assisting in grant applications, researching transportation information and keeping abreast of State and Federal Regulations.  This is the catch-all for any transportation activity undertaken in the Region.
The PTP is a process and 5 year planning document developed with input from the Region 2 Transit System Administrator, Mason City Transit Administrator, Region 2 Transit providers, health and human service providers, United Way of North Central Iowa, Elderbridge Agency on Aging, Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, citizens and elected representatives.  The PTP identifies Goals, Actions and projects to address the passenger transportation needs of the RPA 2 area.
Links have been provided for each of the documents.  If you have any questions, please contact NIACOG at or 641-423-0491.
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