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TDOT administers funding for Rural Planning Organizations.

Rural Planning Organizations are multi-county organizations made up of chief local elected officials, county superintendents, and regional transit officials, among others, as well as a state Senator and Representative from each region’s legislative delegation.

The RPOs are a natural evolution of the nine Regional Working Groups created by TDOT in 2003 to help steer the State Long Range Transportation Plan. Many participants wanted an ongoing way to participate in transportation planning.

The RPOs are also linked closely with the state’s nine economic development districts, in recognition of the fact that the need for economic and community development drives many of the transportation improvements in rural Tennessee counties.

Rural Planning Organizations work with TDOT to review near-term and long-term needs on a local and regional basis for highways, transit, rail, bike/pedestrian and waterways. They also participate in the development of the state’s 3-Year Program by making recommendations to TDOT on funding priorities.

Goals of the RPO program:

  • Ensure that all rural Tennessee local officials with transportation responsibilities are included in the state’s transportation planning process. This includes cities as well as counties, and includes all modes of transportation.
  • Provide a channel for citizen input regarding local, regional, and state transportation issues.
  • Approach decision-making with fairness to all entities, and help formulate unified regional transportation goals.
  • Help TDOT build transportation plans based on comprehensive land use plans, growth plans, and strategic planning efforts.
  • Build on other existing planning processes. Whenever possible, plan transportation system in a way that complements the efforts of other organizations – such as Local Planning Commissions, Joint Economic & Community Development Boards, the state’s 3-Star Program, etc.

For more information about this program visit