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The Sarasota/Manatee MPO is the regional transportation planning entity for Sarasota and Manatee Counties. MPOs are established by state and federal laws and through interlocal agreement to provide a process for local governments within the region to coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The MPO planning process is continuing, comprehensive and cooperative.
The Sarasota/Manatee MPO is governed by a 17-member apportioned Board comprised of elected officals representing both counties, nine (9) cities, and a representative of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 1 Secretary serves as a non-voting advisor.
MPOs are established throughout the US and had their genesis in the 1950’s and 60’s with the development of the Interstate Highway System and passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 to carry out federal transportation planning requirements. Title 23 of the United States Code provides that a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) be designated for each urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 individuals. The designation of MPOs is accomplished by agreement between the Governor and the affected local governments. In addition, sections 339.175 and 339.176, Florida Statutes, provide requirements for MPO membership composition and the apportionment of voting membership, which is updated subsequent to each decennial census. These statutes also describe the purpose, authority and responsibility of MPOs.
Original Creation of the Sarasota/Manatee MPO
Based upon the 1970 Census, in 1977 the population of the Sarasota-Bradenton area was projected to the year 1980. Realizing that the 1980 Census would result in the Sarasota-Bradenton area’s designation as an urbanized area, the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was created in 1978 to meet the requirements of federal law governing the expenditure of federal transportation funds by state and local agencies in Sarasota and Manatee County. The original Sarasota/Manatee MPO Board membership consisted of voting representatives of five local governments: Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, and Town of Longboat Key.