Transportation Planning Organization Seeks Public Input on Expanded Boundaries
A local governmental planning organization that promotes road improvements and other transportation projects around the Fairbanks area is asking for public comment on proposals to expand its boundaries.
Officials with the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System, or FMATS, explained the proposals and how they’ll help attract funding for local road projects in a Monday afternoon meeting in Fairbanks.
The federal government requires municipal planning organizations like FMATS to enlarge their boundaries if the U.S. Census shows population growth, based on the assumption that more people require more and better roads and other transportation facilities.
The Fairbanks-North Star Borough’s population did grow between 2000 and 2010 – by about 18 percent.
So FMATS Coordinator Donna Gardino says the organization has put forth three proposals to enlarge its boundaries. And during an open house Monday at the Noel Wien Public Library, Gardino outlined the proposals and explained the important role that FMATS plays in keeping the area’s transportation projects from getting lost in the shuffle at the state level, where federal transportation funds are divvied-up.
“We keep ’em on the radar,” she said. “So, that’s what we do – make sure our projects keep moving.”
Gardino says the most conservative of the three proposals, known as Option A, would enlarge FMATS’s management area by a total of about 80 square miles. Much of that increase would come from filling gaps in the existing jurisdiction, west of Fairbanks and north of Fairbanks and to the east, around North Pole.
Option B would add another 15 square miles to that proposal, including an area north of the university and to the south of Fairbanks, to the Tanana River.
Option C would add still another mile-and-a-quarter, mainly in North Pole just west of Highland Park.
Gardino says the public can comment on the proposals until Dec. 21 by going online to fmats.us and clicking on the Proposed Metropolitan Planning Area Maps link at the top of the page.
FMATS officials will use those comments to fashion a final plan next month and send it on to the governor’s office for approval early next year.