County Comment: The MPO and a Public Notice of Air Plan

County Comment
The MPO and a Public Notice of Air Plan
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

The Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO) is a group of professional planners from local and state agencies from three counties in our region that is charged with transportation planning in Washington County, Maryland, as well as Jefferson County and Berkeley Counties in West Virginia.
When Interstate highways are widened, or when a new bridge is built across the Potomac, the MPO has had a part in the process, and is usually the applicant for federal transportation dollars and assistance from other agencies, such as the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Washington County provides support to the regional group, with Planning Director Mike Thompson as MPO Coordinator and Planner Jill Baker as staff to the organization. In return, the County is able to recoup administrative funds for services rendered.
That having been said, you should know that the MPO also is involved in air quality issues related to transportation. The public has the right and the ability to comment on plans submitted to the federal government by the MPO.
The HEPMPO Interstate Council is notifying all interested persons that the draft Air Quality Conformity Analysis for fine particulates (PM 2.5) for the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Area, that is in Washington County, MD and Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, WV, is available for comment and review.
The Conformity Analysis has been completed in accordance with US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and the EPA Final Transportation Conformity Rule.
The public comment period will begin on Monday, January 9, 2006 and end on Wednesday, February 8, 2006. Those persons wishing to review the draft document may request a copy by contacting the HEPMPO office located at 80 W. Baltimore Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740, Phone 240-313-2430 or the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council, 400 W. Stephen St., Suite 301, Martinsburg, WV 25401, Phone 304-263-1743.
Copies of the document are also available for review at the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, MD and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Library in Martinsburg, WV. Electronic copies of the document are available for download at www.washco-md.net and at www.berkeleycountycomm.org.
Questions and all written comments should be directed to Michael C. Thompson, MPO Coordinator, 80 W. Baltimore St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Only written comments will be accepted. All comments must be received by no later than 12:00 Noon Wednesday, February 8, 2006.