Role of SWODA in the Transportation Planning Process

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA)  is an association of local governments, comprised of 8 counties, 48 cities and towns, and 10 soil conservation districts.

In June of 2006, Rural Planning Organizations of America (RPO America) was established. Rural Transportation Planning Organizations facilitate the involvement of local officials in the statewide process at multi-county regional level, provide technical assistance to local governments, and assist with public involvement in the planning process and other tasks. Congress recognized the new national organization as “dedicated to improving the planning and development of America’s rural transportation network”. This new group is not only important for the coordination, management, and planning of our nation’s rural transportation infrastructure and systems, but also for linking our rural communities’ economic development initiatives with state and local transportation programs.

SWODA on October of 2009 by Resolution #09-04 created the Southwest Oklahoma Rural Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO). This action was in response to advocacy efforts by RPO America as part of the SAFETEA-LU federal highway and transit reauthorization process.

In April 2012, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) entered an agreement with ORAC to oversee development of the regional transportation planning process and the regional public participation process in the non-metropolitan  areas of the state.  Three Councils of Governments were selected as pilot projects: SWODA, NODA, and COEDD.

In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016, through a collaborative effort involving SORTPO, the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) and the Department of Transportation (ODOT) a transportation planning pilot project comprising sixteen (16) counties was initiated representing two Councils of Governments SWODA and ASCOG. The SWODA Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution 16-06 amended the SORTPO region.

Relationship and Requirements with State and Federal Agencies

The 2040 SORTPO Transportation Plan has been developed in cooperation and in conjunction with the SWODA /ASCOG member governments, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. The Plan is the culmination of a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning effort among the Federal, State and local governments directed by SORTPO RPO that provides for consideration and implementation of projects, strategies, and services that address the following factors:

  • Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users
  • Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight
  • Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patters
  • Promote efficient system management and operation
  • Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.

The following federal requirements were also incorporated into the 2040 RPO Plan development. The transportation plan must:

  • Address a twenty year planning horizon
  • Identify needed pedestrian walkway and bicycle facilities
  • Indicate, as appropriate, the transportation enhancement activities within the Area
  • Include a financial plan that demonstrates the consistency of proposed transportation investments with already available and projected sources of revenue

There must be adequate opportunity for public officials and citizen involvement in the development of the transportation plan before it is approved by the SORTPO Board.