What’s the VLMPO?

So you’ve heard about the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC). What’s this Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization (VLMPO)? How is VLMPO different from the GLPC?

Well, it’s not exactly the same geographical area. GLPC is exclusively for Lowndes County, including its cities. VLMPO is for the Valdosta Urbanized Area, which does not include all of Lowndes County, but does include parts of Berrien and Lanier Counties. According to VLMPO’s home page:

In April 2003, Governor Sonny Perdue officially designated the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Valdosta Urbanized Area. As the MPO, the SGRC is responsible for carrying out transportation planning in the Metropolitan Planning Area using funding received from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, administered by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The MPO works with these and other transportation planning partners to fulfill the requirements of various federal, state and local transportation planning laws and plans.
And it’s not quite the same subject area. GLPC mostly hears rezoning cases, although it also deals with larger planning issues such as the Comprehensive Plan, which includes transportation. VLMPO is focused on transportation, but gets into all sorts of related issues:
The MPO is responsible for developing a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process that includes long range planning, short range improvement programs, public involvement programs, and an annual program of work activities. In addition to these four main documents and plans, the Valdosta-Lowndes MPO works in a broad range of planning areas to ensure a comprehensive transportation planning foundation for the community. These topic areas include: socioeconomic analysis, travel demand modeling, freight movement planning, intelligent transportation systems, maintenance and operations, safety and security planning, transit planning, bike and pedestrian planning, environmental mitigation, context sensitive solutions, access management, land use planning and others.
For example, GLPC doesn’t appear to deal with T-SPLOST at all, while VLMPO has on its January agenda:
VI. A. Transportation Sales Tax Update — Memo, Lists

There’s also the question of how the thoroughfare plans of Valdosta and Lowndes County fit with VLMPO.