The next LATS Policy Committee meeting will be held on Friday, December 1st, 2023 at 9:00 am in the TCL New River Campus Conference Room located at 100 Community College Drive, Bluffton. Individuals wishing to ask questions are encouraged to do so by posting them to the LCOG Facebook page or sending them via email to Stephanie Rossi at email@example.com.
As of the 2010 Census the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton urban area population was recorded as 68,998 residents, and is now classified as a “Small Urban Area". Federal regulations require the formation of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to “provide continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive transportation planning” for areas with urbanized populations of 50,000 or more.
The Lowcountry Area Transportation Study (LATS) was established in 2013 as the MPO responsible. LATS includes the municipalities of Beaufort, Bluffton, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island, Port Royal as well as the relevant unincorporated areas of Beaufort and Jasper Counties.
LATS administers the planning process that determines how the area’s federal transportation dollars will be spent. These funds cover improvements for all elements of the transportation network, including roads and streets, bridges, public transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This process promotes the development of a safe, effective, efficient and environmentally sensitive multimodal transportation system for moving people and goods in the LATS area.
The MPO is responsible for three major plans:
- The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) identifies current and future transportation needs and provide multi-modal strategies and projects to address these needs. Federal funding cannot be allocated to transportation projects unless they are on the LRTP project list. The projects will be fiscally constrained, meaning that the MPO cannot spend more money than it expects to receive.
- The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) details all projects and programs to be Federally-funded. These projects and programs will result from the LRTP. The TIP covers a period of five years but is updated annually.
- The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) outlines LATS MPO transportation planning activities that use funds provided by federal and state transportation agencies and local MPO contributions.