The purpose of the Regional Transportation Program is to define the regional transportation activities to be conducted by the Purchase Area Development District (PADD) in support of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). The program provides coordination of the public review and input process for regional transportation planning, which is later incorporated into the KYTC Statewide Plan. This process was established to identify, evaluate, and prioritize transportation needs for possible implementation in the future.
The major activity conducted by the PADD will be in support of the KYTC's statewide transportation planning process that was initiated in the 1970's, but greatly enhanced in state Fiscal Year 1995. The bases for this major activity are the federal reauthorization bills, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) passed in 1998, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) passed in 2005, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) passed in 2012, and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) passed on December 4, 2015.
The responsibility for conducting various aspects of the statewide transportation planning process falls mainly on four groups: Area Development Districts (ADDs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), KYTC Division of Planning and KYTC District Highway Offices. The ADDs and MPOs are responsible mainly for the analysis of data and transportation systems, identification and evaluation of needs in their region, the coordination of public input for the Kentucky Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, and the subsequent evaluation, prioritization and ranking of needs in the Unscheduled Needs List (UNL) for possible inclusion in the KYTC Six-Year Highway Plan.
The ADDs are concerned with all modes of transportation. The ADD conducts activities in support of transportation planning outside the nine urbanized areas of the state. All planning within the nine urbanized areas is the responsibility of the MPOs. However, the ADD will coordinate transportation planning activities with the MPOs.
The PADD also assists local communities in the grant writing process for programs such as the Transportation Enhancements and National Recreational Trails applications. Additional tasks include data collection, traffic studies, and other transportation requests from local and state agencies.
Kentucky has maintained a statewide transportation planning process since the 1970's through the 15 ADDs. In 1995 Kentucky expanded and formalized a public involvement process for the statewide transportation planning process in response to the directives of ISTEA. This process was expanded further to include more comprehensive public involvement following the directives of TEA-21.
The statewide transportation planning process is accomplished through a cooperative program with the KYTC's 12 Highway District Offices, 15 ADDs, Regional Transportation Committees, local officials and public involvement committees.