Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
Executive Director: Ty Warner
Deputy Director/Director of Planning: Steve Strains
6100 Southport Rd.
Portage, IN 46368
Chicago, IL-IN; Michigan City, IN-MI
The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is a fifty-three member cooperative of local governments including representatives of the area’s three counties, eleven cities, thirty towns and the State as prescribed by law. New statutory authority passed by the 2003 Indiana General Assembly and signed into law expanded NIRPC’s membership, effective July 1, 2003. It gave voting rights only to elected officials who represent the towns, cities and counties in NIRPC’s jurisdiction. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the transit operators are non-voting members, and fully participate in the activities and discussions of the Commission/Executive Board.
NIRPC is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the urbanized areas of Northwest Indiana. In conformance with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962, as amended, Indiana Governor Otis Bowen designated NIRPC as a MPO on November 6, 1975. State enabling legislation for the Commission, establishing multi-county planning, coordination and development was enacted by the Indiana General Assembly in 1965. The following year NIRPC was organized as a two-county (Lake and Porter) transportation and planning commission. LaPorte County joined in 1979. The original legislation was revised or replaced in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1981, 1983, 1992 and 2003.
The metropolitan area boundary (MAB) for transportation planning in Northwest Indiana includes all of the Counties of Lake, LaPorte, and Porter. As a result of Census 2000, the Northwestern Indiana area contains two urbanized areas. The Chicago, IL-IN urbanized area includes the urbanized area of Lake and Porter Counties. Newly designated from Census 2000 is the Michigan City, IN-MI urbanized area in LaPorte County. The MAB automatically includes the area designated as non-attainment for ozone under the Clean Air Act, which currently includes all of Lake and Porter Counties. The MAB also encompasses the area expected to become urbanized during the 20-year forecast period. In 1993, NIRPC made that case for LaPorte’s inclusion in the MAB, which was concurred with by INDOT in 1994.
The population of the Indiana portion of the Chicago, IL-IN urbanized area exceeds 200,000 persons, and has been designated a transportation management area (TMA) by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in accordance with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and retained in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21). TMAs must comply with the special requirements regarding congestion management systems, project selection and certification. This designation continues.
NIRPC is responsible for coordinating planning and development in Northwest Indiana. NIRPC's three planning domains are economic development, environmental management, and transportation. NIRPC performs a variety of functions including short and long range planning, corridor studies, traffic studies, traffic volume counting, fund allocation, technical assistance and project review, programming and development. NIRPC also staffs the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, the Kankakee River Basin Commission, and the Marina Development Commission.
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