$158K grant to provide transportation planing

The Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission will spend two years and about $175,000 developing a transportation plan for Champaign and Logan counties, the result of a new program from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The LUC is one of five rural regional planning commissions to participate in ODOT’s new Rural Transportation Planning Organization Pilot program. The agency will receive $158,000 from ODOT and chip in a 10 percent local match, for a total of about $175,000.

The transportation plan will include input from local officials and residents, and help determine which projects will provide the best value to the county, said Jenny Snapp, commission director. That could mean improving existing highways, determining maintenance needs, identifying the best areas for sidewalks, improving intersections and other projects.

“It has a lot of potential to benefit the state as a whole,” Snapp said of the program.

In the past, ODOT was largely responsible for the rural transportation plans, said Ana Ramirez, director of long-term planning and engineering for the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, which serves the Dayton metropolitan area.

As part of the grant, the Miami Valley and Logan-Union-Champaign commissions will work closely together to implement the program.

The Miami Valley commission will provide support such as census data and traffic counts, along with other technical details. By the end of the program, , Ramirez said, the Logan-Union-Champaign group should be able to monitor and update the transportation plan as needed.

“We have experience in doing this kind of work so they can develop their own version of a regional transportation plan,” Ramirez said.

Among its responsibilities, the LUC has traditionally been charged with reviewing and approving subdivisions in unincorporated areas and making recommendations to township zoning commissions.

The new program will give the group transportation planning tools it has never had, Snapp said.

“It’s changing the way ODOT is treating rural planning organizations,” Snapp said.

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