Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission representative Amelia Constanzo told city officials last week that any transportation-related projects a community anticipates starting in the next 20 years should be included on the 2012 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission representative Amelia Constanzo told city officials last week that any transportation-related projects a community anticipates starting in the next 20 years should be included on the 2012 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).

The plan is updated every four years. Constanzo said it is important because federal transportation dollars are distributed based on information in the MTP.

MORPC oversees the plan for central Ohio.

"What MORPC can do through this plan is transfer money from the federal government to local governments for infrastructure projects," Constanzo told Canal Winchester City Council at its Jan. 17 meeting. "If a project isn't on the plan list, then it can't get federal funding, so the projects on the MTP are the only ones slated for possible funding."

Currently, the projects that affect Canal Winchester include the transition of U.S. Route 33 from a four-lane divided road to freeway; several minor road-widening projects; and the construction of additional sections of the Little Walnut Creek bikeway.

"This is for planning from 2012 all the way through 2035, so if we have an inkling of a project or something we want to try and do in the next 20 years, we want to get those projects on the list," city finance director Nanisa Osborn said. "Otherwise, we won't get federal dollars for them. So this is very crystal ball, looking ahead."

The four-year review cycle does allow projects to be added ahead of the 20-year planning cycle, Constanzo said.

"If something doesn't get added now, it might be added four years from now, and there might be other funding sources other than federal funding," Constanzo said. "There is a process and steps that need to be met to receive funding. All of the projects the communities plan on doing are rated against each of the goals, and then they're put against a computer analysis to decide what gets priority."

The goals include the reduction of energy consumption and increased renewable energy production; preservation of natural resources; attracting and retaining economic opportunity; improving residents' lives through density and sustainable neighborhoods; maximization of return on public expenditures; and benefits to the health, safety and welfare of people.

"We are approaching city, village and county staff to make the most comprehensive list possible," Constanzo said.

She also said the public can provide feedback and suggest projects for the list via the MORPC website at www.morpc.org/tplan.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at Town Hall, 10 N. High St.