Metropolitan Planning Organization decides future road projects

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Major Acadiana road projects can take years to plan out before becoming reality. And that planning starts with the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization is part of the Acadiana Planning Commission which has its offices inside the Rosa Parks Transportation Center in downtown Lafayette. The MPO brings together representatives from the Department of Transportation and Development and the various parish governments and municipalities to decide which transportation projects will get done.

“We traditionally have made decisions in silos,” explained Monique Boulet, the Chief Executive Officer of the Acadiana Planning Commission.

She said representatives from six parishes and seven municipalities decide how federal transportation dollars will be used.

“We come up with better solutions, we do it at a more cost-effective rate, and we bring more capacity when we come together as a region,” Boulet said.

The Acadiana Planning Commission provides the technical staff for the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“We do the modeling, the research. We often assist with the jurisdictions in educating them, talking to them about different projects that they have. We’ll do a lot of the safety research,” Boulet said.

And that technical expertise can be especially valuable in rural areas that don’t have a lot of their own staff. Boulet said the MPO allows elected officials to work together on common issues and problems.

The Acadiana Planning Commission was created in early 2015. The Metropolitan Planning Organization used to be part of Lafayette Consolidated Government but that also changed in 2015 to get more involvement from regional elected officials.

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