Metropolitan Planning Briefing — December 2020

Metropolitan Planning Briefing

December 2020

In this Briefing we share the next round of MPO funding applications; an online public meeting about the metro’s major corridors; a national leadership award for an MPO officer; and a video for those who missed the last Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series.

NOW ACCEPTING: Surface Transportation Block Grant Applications

Applications are being accepted now through January 15, 2021, for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2025 Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program. An estimated $13 million will be available for highway, bridge, street, transit and pedestrian projects.

The applications will be scored and go out for public comment in February. The MPO Policy Committee will vote on final awards in May.

Please note: A separate program, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Set-Aside, will be open for applications early next year.

For more information on the STBG Program, please call or email MPO staff at 515-229-0127 or

ONLINE PUBLIC MEETING: Commuter input sought for IDOT’s Integrated Corridor Management Plan for Greater Des Moines region

Commuters of Greater Des Moines are being asked for their opinions as part of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s development of an Integrated Corridor Management Plan for the metro’s major corridors.

Please participate in the meeting yourself – it’s takes about 15 minutes – and share the link with your networks. Click here to start the online meeting.

The Integrated Corridor Management Plan aims to get more and better use out of the existing transportation network, at a smaller cost than adding vehicle lanes. Here’s a one-minute overview of the ICM program from the Iowa DOT.

The Des Moines Area MPO has been a partner in the development of this plan. For more information, please call or email MPO staff at 515-334-0075 or

NATIONAL AWARD: MPO Chair Joe Gatto recognized for leadership

Des Moines Area MPO Chair Joe Gatto, a Des Moines City Council Member, was recognized with the national Award for Outstanding Elected Official Leadership from the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

The award recognized the role Gatto played championing the Des Moines Transload Facility. Namely, he recruited two local businessmen to partner with the MPO and the Des Moines Transload Facility.

Des Moines Transload Facility, opening in 2021, will serve to “transload” goods between the trucking network and the rail network, lowering shipping costs and thereby benefiting businesses within 150 miles of Iowa’s capital.

The MPO has been a major driver of this regional project, including the successful securing nearly $13 million in state and federal funding. More information is at

SPEAKER SERIES VIDEO: James Chung on investing in the region during economic recovery

Even with all the major disruptions in the world since James Chung was here in 2018 – global pandemic, a wounded economy and a national reckoning over racial inequities – Greater Des Moines remains a statistical overachiever and a standout region nationally.

So said Chung on his return to the Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series on a virtual stage on September 23, 2020, to reassess the region’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. But while he expressed optimism for the region, he also outlined several challenges, from the need for continued investment coming out of recession, to the importance of diversifying the population, for the region’s long-term resilience.

Watch the video and hear for yourself the insights into Greater Des Moines recently offered by Mr. Chung, a data analyst who is president of Reach Advisors.

2021 CALENDAR: Committee meeting dates are set

The 2021 meeting dates have been scheduled for the MPO’s three primary committees. See links below for the upcoming dates, as well as past agendas, minutes, and other materials.

Policy Committee
Executive Committee
Transportation Technical Committee

That’s it for this Briefing. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to reach out. Thank you.


Gunnar Olson | Communications and Strategy Manager
Des Moines Area MPO | 420 Watson Powell, Jr. Parkway, Suite 200 | Des Moines, Iowa 50309
515-334-0075 | |