The rural transportation consultation process in New Hampshire is written into state law and is driven by extraordinary opportunities for local officials, as well as the public, to guide transportation planning for their region.
Since the early 1990s, the state’s nine regional development organizations (known locally as regional planning commissions), six of which are rural, have contracted with the state to perform valuable technical assistance and help develop the state’s 10-year transportation improvement plan. In order to carry out the required work program, each rural region is given $130,000 with a ten percent local match requirement.
Among the key activities of the regional development organizations is to host community planning meetings as part of the biennial update of the state’s plan. Local government officials are invited to the public meetings, in addition to serving on advisory committees used by the regions to identify and prioritize regional transportation needs.
Local official input, in concert with the public input phase, is also sought during the periodic review of the plan by the governor’s office and by the state legislature before its final approval. Regions such as the North Country Council have also expanded their local planning services in recent years to include traffic data collection, physical road inventory, GIS mapping and community-level transportation planning. Each of the rural regions receives up to $130,000 to implement their rural work program.
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