AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va -- The area of Augusta County, Waynesboro and Staunton could see more growth and development in the coming years. That is why the federal government said the area has to form a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or an MPO.
Waynesboro's Deputy City Manager Jim Shaw has worked alongside other city and county officials to help bring more growth and development to the area. Having an MPO would unite area cities with the county.
“A big part of the MPO is really to promote economic development through improving and maintaining transportation systems here,” said Shaw.
The MPO plan means the area will get more federal dollars to help with transportation plans, like expanding highways and a possible rail system.
For city and county officials, the hardest part has been outlining the entire MPO and deciding which cities and towns to incorporate.
Augusta County's Director of Economic Development Dennis Burnett said the growth in the area is what got the government's attention.
“The region as a whole is growing, and I think, thanks to the comprehensive plans, and the work the boards have done to encourage smart growth in the right places, I think this can complement that comprehensive plan well,” said Burnett.
It will take city officials working on MPO plans to start it in our area. Shaw said they already work together on regional projects, so that should help.
“It's a lot of cooperation and teamwork between the cities, the county, and VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) as well,” said Shaw. “I think that we're poised to be able to do this because we have any other regional initiatives underway.”
The government chose this area because it has more than 50,000 people and Harrisonburg and Rockingham county already have an MPO.