COLUMBUS, OH – Central Ohio is on track to become a region of 3 million people by 2050, according to the latest population estimates from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). The estimates are developed annually by MORPC to provide up-to-date insights into the patterns of growth in the 15-county region.
“Estimating current populations and projecting future growth are important to local governments as ways to inform long-range planning efforts for villages, townships, cities and counties,” said William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director. “Keeping track of growth in the region has important implications for how communities plan for the future.”
In 2018, MORPC estimates that the region saw an increase of 43,000 residents – enough to fill both Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center to capacity simultaneously and the largest single-year of growth in Central Ohio’s history. This equates on average to 118 people coming into the region each day. The region’s total population is now estimated to be 2.4 million people.
Franklin County accounted for seventy percent (1.3 million) of the regional population increase, gaining nearly 30,000 residents, an additional 82 new residents per day. This continues a trend of strong growth in the region’s core, which began around 2010. The trend in recent years is a significant shift from the suburban sprawl that characterized the prior several decades. From 2000-2010, Franklin County saw just 40 percent ofthe region’s total growth.
The City of Columbus also achieved a significant milestone in 2018, surpassing 900,000 residents for the first time. The region’s largest city added nearly 22,000 residents over the past year, a full fifty percent of the regional total.
MORPC has identified several factors that are fueling the region’s growth. Migration, both domestic and international, is a key component. Since 2010, for every resident gained from natural population growth, another moved into the region. Migration into the region is a mix of residents from elsewhere in the United States, including people from other places in Ohio, and a significant number of residents moving to the region fromabroad.
Looking to the future, MORPC’s forecasts call for continued steady growth in Central Ohio, with the region reaching the 3 million mark in 2050. Prolonged population booms like the one the region is currently experiencing could drive that number even higher, while economic slowdowns or other unforeseen factors could have a dampening effect. For this reason, MORPC models a range of growth for the future and uses the most likely scenario for its projections.
“What’s important is that Central Ohio is a rapidly growing region, and that growth is not showing signs of slowing down,” Murdock said. “Collectively as a region, we have the opportunity to plan for this growth in a sustainable way that delivers a range of transportation options, offers affordable housing options, ensures all residents have opportunities for economic success, and makes efficient use of our resources.”
Knox County joins MORPC
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has approved Knox County as its newest board member. The acceptance of Knox County as a member took place December 13 following a resolution approved by the Knox County Board of Commissioners to join MORPC.
The county’s membership will provide the opportunity for three representatives to serve as a voting member at MORPC board meetings.
“The Commissioners feel being a member of MORPC will provide us with data and planning services that will prove invaluable as we look at future growth and transportation in Knox County,” Commissioner Teresa Bemiller said. “We will also have input when regional issues are discussed.”
“We are pleased to welcome Knox County as an important part of the growing Central Ohio metropolitan area,” MORPC Executive Director William Murdock said. “Counties are vital local government partners for MORPC, so having Knox County at the table is critical to our work on regional issues and services.”
MORPC is a voluntary association of more than 60 local governments in Central Ohio serving the region through planning, direct service, public policy information and innovative programming and intergovernmental coordinating services in the areas of transportation, land use, energy conservation, the environment and housing.
The MORPC board meets 10 times each year to discuss important regional issues, guide the direction of MORPC’s work, network with local leaders to discuss common problems, create solutions to shared regional challenges and provide input on funding decisions. Additional benefits of serving on MORPC’s board include grants and funding opportunities, educational forums, training and seminars, technical assistance and data, and policy development.
MORPC proposes over $21 million for new transportation projects
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announces the availability of a proposed list of new transportation projects to receive over $21 million in federal funds from State Fiscal Years 2020 to 2025. MORPC is seeking public comment on the proposed projects through January 18, 2018.
“MORPC received nearly $200 million in requests for funding of new transportation projects from across the region. The Attributable Funding Committee worked collaboratively to identify the projects with the greatest regional impact for these limited resources,” states Thea Walsh, MORPC Director of Transportation Systems and Funding.
The following eight projects are proposed for a new funding commitment:
• Columbus Traffic Signal System – Phase F, Signalization – $11,099,700
• SR-161 at Maple Canyon and Parkville/Spring Run, Intersection Modification – $894,250
• Concrete Bus Pad Upgrades, Maintenance Activity – $901,410
• Traffic Signal Infrastructure Replacement, Maintenance Activity – $567,650
• Fishinger Road from Riverside Dr to 400’ W of Mountview Blvd, Reconstruction – $3,036,528
• Olentangy Trail from Clinton Como to Northmoor, Multi-Use Path and Bridges – $3,458,321
• First/Last Mile Service, Transit Activity – $946,400
• Pre-Project Development for Two Corridors, Transit Activity – $960,000
Three existing projects are proposed for a significantly increased funding commitment:
• Grandview Heights Signals Interconnect, Signalization – new total proposed – $1,341,493
• Whitehall Signals Interconnect, Signalization – new total proposed – $3,121,388
• Agler Road at Alum Creek, Bridge Replacement – new total proposed – $3,436,160
Every two years, MORPC solicits projects to receive federal transportation funding in the MORPC transportation planning area – Franklin and Delaware counties, Bloom and Violet townships in Fairfield County, New Albany, Pataskala and Etna Township in Licking County, and Jerome Township in Union County. Examples of the types of transportation improvements eligible for funding include highways, public transit, bikeways, pedestrian facilities, bridges and traffic signal upgrades.
In addition to the 11 projects above, MORPC’s Attributable Funding Committee is proposing to recommend continued funding for 30 projects and programs to which MORPC had previously committed funds. A total of over $190 million in future funding commitments is being proposed. To see the draft list of all projects recommended for funding visit www.morpc.org/funding.
MORPC will consider final approval of the funding commitments on March 14, 2019, and subsequently they will be incorporated into the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The adopted funding commitments for SFYs prior to 2021 will be incorporated into the SFY 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) by amendment. Funding commitments in SFYs 2021 through 2024 will be included in MORPC’s SFY 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which will be adopted in the spring of 2020. The TIP is a financially balanced listing of federal, state and locally funded projects that are scheduled for some phase of implementation or development in a four-year time period.
Copies of the draft listing are available by calling MORPC at (614) 228-2663 or can be viewed online at www.morpc.org/program-service/transportation-improvement-program/. If you have any questions about proposed projects, please submit comments in writing to Thea Walsh, Director of Transportation Systems and Funding, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, 111 Liberty Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio, 43215 by 5 p.m. by January 17, 2019, or submit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORPC reports air quality continues to improve in 2018
Despite above average temperatures and wildfires
(Dec.18, 2018) In its recently released Central Ohio Air Quality End of Season Report, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) reports good news this year for Central Ohio residents, especially those with respiratory conditions.
”Central Ohio continues to benefit from improved air quality even while the region is growing,” said Brandi Whetstone, MORPC’s Energy and Air Quality Interim Director. “Outstanding local programs that decrease air pollution combined with a relatively rainy year, meant Central Ohioans breathed easier during the 2017-2018 season.”
The report, which provides a summary from November 2017 through October 2018, found that during that time there were only three days when air pollution levels reached the Air Quality Index (AQI) Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range for ozone. On these days, people more sensitive to air pollution including children, individuals with lung illnesses such as asthma, and older adults can begin to experience symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing. While there were no days when particle pollution (PM2.5) reached levels Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, the season’s two highest particle pollution AQI days were both caused by smoke transported from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
Ozone levels improved from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 with the percentage of days in the Good AQI category increasing from 68 percent to 81 percent. Above average precipitation over the past year, especially in the summer months, reduced ozone formation and led to cleaner air quality conditions despite above average temperatures. Local programs, such as SMART Columbus, C-pass, and MORPC’s Gohio Commute, that encourage ridesharing, driving electric vehicles, riding transit, biking and walking also help in keeping harmful pollutants out of the air.
MORPC issues daily air quality forecasts and notifies the public when ozone and particle pollution levels are considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups of people. From March through October, ground-level ozone levels peak when warm temperatures and sunlight, mixed with pollutants, enhance the formation of ozone. This can create unhealthy levels of air pollution triggering Air Quality Alerts.
Central Ohioans can sign-up online at www.morpc.org/airquality to receive free Air Quality Alert notifications delivered straight to their inbox by email or text message. They can also call MORPC’s toll-free air quality hotline at 1-888-666-1009 for the latest forecast in planning their day to reduce exposure to air pollution. MORPC’s toll-free Air Quality hotline has English and Spanish language options to best serve the Central Ohio community.
MORPC Recognized as National Leader by FHWA and FTA
MORPC and its partners substantially meet planning requirements
(Dec. 20, 2018) The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) received two commendations as a result of its Certification Review from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region V and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Ohio Division. The two agencies recognized MORPC as a national leader in evaluating environmental justice impacts on a regional scale and in embracing new and emerging technologies. MORPC’s approach to evaluating environmental justice impacts will be highlighted in a soon-to-be published FHWA technical report.
“After six years with MORPC, I continue to be impressed with our team, the depth and breadth of their knowledge, dedication and efforts for collaboration, inclusiveness and sincerity in conducting the transportation planning process. Our local communities depend on this good work and collaboration to improve Central Ohio’s transportation system for their residents and businesses. I’m proud of this excellent partnership and grateful for the commendation for our team’s work from our federal partners,” states William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director.
In September 2018, the formal certification review of the transportation planning process was conducted for the Columbus, Ohio urbanized area. The review team consisted of representatives from FTA Region V and FHWA Ohio Division. The review team found that the transportation planning process for Columbus, Ohio, as conducted by MORPC, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and Delaware Area Transit Agency (DATABus) substantially met the planning requirements. Both FHWA and FTA jointly certified the planning process.
“MORPC is proud to be acknowledged for the hard work and efforts of its member governments and transportation team in creating a region-wide interconnected transportation system that includes all modes and all users,” states Thea Walsh, MORPC Director of Transportation Systems and Funding. “MORPC is dedicated to this effort and that is what FHWA and FTA saw and heard when they reviewed the planning process.”
The transportation planning process is reviewed every four years as a requirement of all metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) with a population of 200,000 or greater. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the transportation planning process meets the Federal transportation planning requirements
More Than $28 Million Awarded to 11 Local Communities in Franklin County
14 projects receive Ohio Public Works Commission’s funding
(Dec. 27, 2018) The Ohio Public Works Commission’s (OPWC’s) Public Works Integrating Committee (PWIC) has awarded more than $28 million to 14 District 3/Franklin County projects through the State Capital Improvements Program (SCIP) and the Local Transportation Improvements Program (LTIP) for Program Year 33 (2019).
Cornell R. Robertson, the Franklin County Engineer and the OPWC District 3 Integrating Committee Chair, said, “This year’s funding results once again highlight the key role that the Ohio Public Works Commission’s grant and loan programs play in helping finance needed infrastructure projects in Franklin County. We were fortunate this year to provide funding to 11 local agencies to move their projects into construction in the near future. At the same time, the number of unsuccessful applications highlights the continued need to find additional funding to complete all of the needed projects to keep Franklin County an economically vibrant and attractive place to live and work.”
The Ohio Public Works Commission’s SCIP and the LTIP provide financial assistance to local communities for the improvement of their basic infrastructure systems. Eligible projects include improvements to roads, bridges, culverts, water supply systems, wastewater systems, storm water collection systems, and solid waste disposal facilities. County, city, village, township and other infrastructure districts located in Franklin County were eligible to apply.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) provides administrative support for District 3 of the Ohio Public Works Commission including processing and reviewing project grant and loan requests from local governments. After evaluating and scoring the projects, MORPC and PWIC submit a list of projects to the Ohio Public Works Commission. Final project approval is given by the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Total Rd 33 SCIP/LTIP Infrastructure Awards
Program Community Project Total Project Cost Total Awards
Minerva Park Sanitary Sewer Improvements, Phase II $525,330 $525,330
Franklin Co Sanitary Eng. Little Farms Waterline Replacement, Phase II $7,693,140 $4,992,846
Groveport Toy Road Reconstruction $2,869,228 $1,575,204
Bexley S Cassingham Rd & S Vernon Rd Improvements $4,940,392 $4,940,392
Grove City Southwest Blvd Roadway Improvement $2,677,757 $1,999,999
Franklin Co Eng. Alum Creek Drive at Rohr Road $3,896,000 $1,675,000
Columbus James Rd Arterial Street Rehabilitation $7,436,033 $3,736,188
Columbus Downtown Traffic Signal Installation $2,427,327 $1,446,557
New Albany US 62 at SR 161 Roadway Improvements $2,790,000 $783,316
Jefferson Twp Mann Road Culvert Improvement $574,060 $19,968
SCIP Administrative Costs $45,500 $45,500
SCIP Total Awards $21,740,300
Franklin Twp Franklin Township Road Improvements $2,150,000 $2,040,000
Columbus Hilliard Rome Rd at Feder Rd Intersection Improvements $11,325,221 $3,372,601
Franklin Co Eng. Reynoldsburg-New Albany at Clark State Rd $4,606,000 $866,000
Dublin Tuttle Crossing Blvd Extension & Avery Rd Improvements $24,509,050 $239,899
LTIP Administrative Costs $19,500 $19,500
LTIP Total Awards $6,538,000
GRAND TOTAL $28,278,300
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is a voluntary association of local governments and regional organizations that envisions and embraces innovative directions in economic prosperity, energy, the environment, housing, land use, and transportation. Our transformative programming, services and innovative public policy are designed to promote and support the vitality and growth in the region. For more information, please visit www.morpc.org.