In an effort to enhance rural areas and communities in New Mexico the Federal Highway Administration, through the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), established several planning districts that allow local communities to receive transportation assistance through a Regional Planning process. Currently, the Eastern Plains Council of Governments (EPCOG)is part of this planning process with a regional planner who serves our seven county area. The area of coverage which reflects the New Mexico Department of Transportation's respective district boundaries.

The Eastern Plains Council of Governments covers the largest geographical area in New Mexico and its seven counties spread over two New Mexico Department Transportation Districts. The North Eastern Regional Transportation Planning District (NERTPO) includes Quay, Harding, Union, and Guadalupe Counties. This area receives NMDOT funding through District 4 which is headquartered in Las Vegas. The South Eastern Regional Transportation Planning District (SERTPO) serves Curry, De Baca, and Roosevelt Counties with Vaughn also included in the service area. This district receives funding through District 2 in Roswell.

The duties for the Transportation Department are to assist all local governments with planning and funding for Federal and State projects. The planner assist the local communities with applications, project feasibility, and with the Regional Planning Process. This process is a meeting where the Regional Planning Organization (RPO) meets and ranks the applications. These applications are then sent to the respective NMDOT District Engineer's Offices for funding consideration. Rate and rank applications from votes of the members of Transit, Roadway, Enhancement, Safety, Bridges and Scenic Byways projects throughout the RPO for entry into the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). The planner delivers RPO Presentation to all entities annually and advises entities of project status for projects on the STIP and follows the progress of projects on the STIP.

The projects vary in type, funding matches, and availability. The main type is Roadway and Enhancement. These projects are for road repair, rehabilitation, and improvements. The other types include Federal Transit. These are to continue funding Transits that operate in the areas. The Transportation Planner also assist with the GRIP II Program that is in the final phases.

For more information concerning transportation meetings, minutes, agendas, Title Vl Plans for SERTPO and NERTPO and programs follow the link below or contact Vincent Soule at 575-762-7714.