EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners met with Brian Martin, executive director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, to discuss the creation of future transportation plans on a regional basis on Monday, May 3.
MVRPC has a board made up of 80 representatives representing a six-county area which includes Warren, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Darke and Preble Counties. Preble County is a member of the MVRPC.
Martin provided commissioners with information regarding the agency and what it does.
“We have different geographies with different functions — we get a lot of state and federal funding, mostly in transportation,” Martin said. “Folks come to us for some sort of a transport transportation funding for roads, bridges, whatever, for the core three counties. Preble and Darke are outside of that area.
“But there are some funds that we can use to provide planning services,” he said. “We can help convene meetings and over the past there’s been some projects involving trails or road projects.
“We’re the only organization that really looks at this Miami Valley comprehensively, making sure that all the jurisdictions are connected — in transportation but also anything else to. We do a lot of land use planning, strategic planning for counties,” he added.
Martin has begun discussions with Darke County regarding the creation of a regional transportation planning organization and brought that information to Preble County Commissioners. The RTPO would be an added value for the commissioners’ current services from MVRPC, according to Martin, and would include a transportation plan.
Martin said he was also looking at bringing Shelby County into the proposed RTPO as well, to increase the amount of federal funding available. Martin proposed using Preble County’s MVRPC dues, but said he believes it would mean an additional $3,000 cost to the county.
“It’s more money, but it’s more services,” he said.
“ODOT made it clear to us that they don’t want to see a Preble County Transportation Plan and Darke County and Shelby County. They want to see all three together,” Martin noted, saying this would allow the true impacts of the region’s working cooperative to be seen.
“As you look toward the future, it seems like this is a very important piece, you know, to help you get there. There’s a lot of public involvement, a lot of input opportunities,” Martin said of the RTPO process.
No action was taken on Preble County’s participation in the RTPO.
The group also discussed transportation concerns in Preble County, including Amish buggy traffic and possible need for signage, and other traffic safety concerns.
In other business
Commissioners also read information relating to a proclamation recognizing May 3-7 as National Air Quality Awareness Week, in partnership with the U.S. EPA and Air Now. This year’s theme was “Healthy Air – Important for Everyone!”
Commissioner Rachael Vonderhaar read into the record a press release from MVRPC: “’Now that more people are returning to work, school and everyday activities, it is important we continue the progress of improving air quality in the Region,’ stated MVRPC’s Executive Director, Brian O. Martin. ‘Air Quality Awareness Week is an opportunity to learn more.’”
“MVRPC partners with the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA) on air quality issues,” Vonderhaar continued. “RAPCA is responsible for monitoring and reporting air quality readings in Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Preble, and Clark Counties. On days when air pollution levels are forecasted to be high, an Air Quality Alert (AQA) will be issued. Poor air quality affects everyone; however, some individuals are particularly sensitive to air pollutants, including children and adults who are active outdoors, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma. It’s especially important on these days that the elderly, young children and those with breathing problems modify behavior and limit outdoor time. Visit MiamiValleyAir.org or call 937-223-6323 for more information.”
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.