How Metros Invest Transportation Funds: MZ Strategies Report on Regional Allocation Process

Today, MZ Strategies, LLC released a new report examining how Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) allocate federal transportation formula funds. The report, “Regional Allocation of Federal Transportation Funding,”  looks at the decision making process of six MPOs: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle. This research was undertaken to help inform evaluation efforts by the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council in Minnesota, and supported through a grant by The McKnight Foundation to The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

“This report fills an important research void,” said Mariia Zimmerman, Principal of MZ Strategies, “providing a snapshot of how MPOs allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in feder al transportation funds.”

The federal transportation program provides annual funding to states and metropolitan areas to invest in highway, bridge, transit, bicycling and pedestrian projects designed to improve mobility, air quality and accessibility. The decision making process, referred to as the regional solicitation of Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program, and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds, allows MPOs to determine how these funds will be spent locally. Regions have each established their own process to support local priorities. The report found that half of the studied regions allow blending of these funds, and five out of the six have established set-aside programs to fund important regional transportation priorities including system maintenance, transit, and livability programs to link local plans with transportation investments to maximize accessibility options. The complete report  can be downloaded at

Contact: Mariia Zimmerman, 703-582-7355 or

MZ Strategies, LLC is a DBE-certified small business based in Arlington, Virginia offering policy and planning consulting services.