MORPC urges public participation on transportation plan

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By Hannah Poling
Staff Writer

Regional transportation priorities were discussed at the Westland Area Commission meeting held on Feb. 19.

Bevan Schneck, senior public affairs coordinator, for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) attended the meeting to discuss these priorities. According to Schneck, MORPC focuses on several different categories – communication and engagement, government affairs, residential services, data and mapping, planning and sustainability, and transportation and infrastructure development.

Schneck brought up the Columbus area Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). An MTP is a long-range fiscal plan which indicates regional transportation strategies and projects. The Columbus MTP includes Delaware, Union, Franklin, Fairfield, and Licking counties. Central Ohio is growing and the desires of individuals and demands on the transportation system are changing.

“Preferences are changing. We want smaller homes, walk-ability, amenities, more mobility, and green space,” said Schneck.

MORPC is encouraging the public within the Columbus region to participate in a draft plan comment period of the MTP. On www.morpc.org/mtp2050, residents can view draft projects on an interactive web map where one could review the projects and make comments. The comment period ends April 3.

In related news, Cathy Cowan Becker attended the meeting to discuss possibilities for how Columbus could get to 100 percent renewable energy, which could significantly decrease the amount of carbon emissions we produce. According to Cowan Becker, making simple changes of more energy efficient upgrades in our homes and places of work can lower emissions and save money.

Simple acts such as installing LED lights, sealing windows, more insulation, EnergyStar appliances and low-flow plumbing are changes that could be made to make a difference. More drastic changes include using more solar power and moving over to using electric vehicles.

Cowan Becker believes that the city should be using aggregation to bring together customers and use them to bargain with utility companies for more renewable energy at a lower price. In order to use aggregation, that would require the city to run a ballot initiative to get approval from the residents and also allow customers to opt out of the agreement. She said that Columbus should create a bulk purchasing program for solar installations.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio must approve all applications to build utility-scale solar and wind projects.

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