The Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) will meet tonight to allow the public to comment on recent changes to its Participation Plan.

The scheduled meeting is in accordance with its newly updated document, which mandates that MACORTS hold at least one public meeting each month, to allow civilians to make their opinions heard.

The Participation Plan is prepared by the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Planning Department, in conjunction with Madison and Oconee’s respective planning departments, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

Because the ACC Planning Department receives federal funds to carry out planning for highway and transportation activities, it falls under government legislation requiring this.

Sherry Moore, Transportation Planner, explained some of the changes to be discussed in the meeting.

“What we have changed in the plan is very simple,” Moore said. “GDOT had very clear guidelines described for all the MPOs in Georgia. About a year ago, GDOT decided to reconfigure, and moved to more general guidelines, which allows them to do more things. Now, they just have to codify exactly what they’re going to do.”

MACORTS, one of fifteen Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) in Georgia, has been in existence since 1969, and steadily expanding its influence over the last thirty years.

According to the updated Participation Plan, the area that MACORTS affects is approximately 243 square miles and approximately 130,000 people, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

The MACORTS organization consists of two main committees, the Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and the Policy Committee (PC). Both of these committees work with citizen advisory committees to address public policy issues, such as the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Electronic copies of the updated Participation Plan are available to the public on the MACORTS website:

 According to the MACORTS website, public comments can be either delivered at the meeting, or by email at: There is also a comment box for the FY 2010-2013 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) on the MACORTS website. Comments will be accepted up until April 9.

 Public information meetings are also scheduled within the next week for Madison and Oconee counties.

The meeting will be tonight from 4-6pm in the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department Auditorium on Dougherty Street.

-written by Robert Burns

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