Planning organization proposed as Twin Falls approaches metro designation

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Idaho Transportation Department plans to create a Metropolitan Planning Organization as Twin Falls County anticipates growing into a metropolitan area by the 2020 census.

According to the Transportation Department, MPOs are set up in urban areas once the population hits 50,000 or more.

"A Metropolitan Planning Organization is involved in kind of the planning for an area, making sure transportation is working well and working with agencies like the Idaho Transportation Department and county highway district, or city street departments to kind of make sure that streets are connecting and people get to where they need to get to," said Adam Rush, a public involvement coordinator with the department.

Rush said putting together the organization is a few steps before actually planning specific projects.

"After an MPO is created, then you can go into more, you know, identifying specific projects or objectives or goals," he said over the phone.

Projects like public transit cannot get started until the 2020 census confirms the population.

"We like to plan ahead and meet with stakeholders there in Twin Falls, let them know what the MPO does and let the folks know what goes into the creating ad setting up and launching the MPO," Rush said.

He said they plan to have the organization set up by or in the year 2022.

The MPO will have a director and staff to plan transportation needs and the organization includes local agencies like counties, county highway districts and cities.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Twin Falls City Hall to educate residents on what an MPO does and how they're set up.

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