The Watertown Jefferson County Area Transportation Council (WJCTC) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) designated by the Governor of the State of New York for the City of Watertown and surrounding area in Jefferson County. It has the responsibility of developing and maintaining both a Regional Transportation Plan and a Transportation Improvement Program for the area's federal aid eligible highway and public transit facilities. The Council was established in 2014 when the population of the Watertown urbanized area exceeded 50,000 as determined by the 2010 Census. It was determined that the geographic area for the Council's transportation planning would be limited to the adjusted urbanized area (see exhibit 1).
The Council consists of three principal working groups – the Policy Committee (PC), the Highway Technical Committee (HTC) and the Transit Technical Committee (TTC). The Policy Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving all planning undertaken by the Council and its staff. The Technical Committees are responsible for coordinating transportation planning activities and providing technical advice to the PC. The Technical Committees are composed of professional/technical staff representatives from each of the member governments. The HTC will focus on highway/bridge issues, while the TTC will focus on transit issues within the WJCTC boundary.
The MPO is responsible for fulfilling the federal and state transportation planning requirements specific to metropolitan/urbanized areas. These requirements are articulated by the most recent federal legislation, MAP-21. In the MAP-21 legislation, there are requirements for a long-range plan, transportation improvement plan (TIP) and Public Participation Plan. Additional rules and implementation guidance are provided by the associated federal agencies, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.