The role of every MPO, including the MIC, is to set priorities for federal dollars on existing and future transportation projects using a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process.
We work to encourage local policy decisions and multi-modal infrastructure projects that will provide a transportation system that serves all users.
We think about how well that system will function, and how it can be paid for, not just for today but for the next five, 10 and 25 years.
Where We Work
The MIC’s planning jurisdiction—the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Planning Area—encompasses 641 square miles within St. Louis and Douglas counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. It extends from the census-defined Duluth-Superior Urbanized Area out to the first ring of non-urbanized townships.
In Minnesota this includes the cities of Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor and Rice Lake, and the townships of Canosia, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway and Solway. In Wisconsin this includes the city of Superior, the towns of Lakeside, Parkland and Superior, and the villages of Oliver and Superior.
What Do We Do?
We conduct studies, develop plans, model the transportation system to forecast travel patterns and program projects for federal funding in the MIC Planning Area.
The overall purpose of transportation planning is to improve the movement of people and goods to their destinations. It is an ongoing and collaborative process that incorporates the input of many stakeholders, including from members of the public and private businesses. Therefore the MIC is required by federal statute to:
- Produce a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) to address projects, programs and policies for at least a 20-year timeframe.
- Develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for projects that receive federal funding in Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin.
- Develop, adopt and use a Public Participation Plan that identifies the overall strategies and specific steps the MIC will take to engage the project stakeholders at each phase of the planning process.
- Adopt a Work Program and Budget that identifies the MIC’s transportation planning activities and budget for a two-year period.
MIC Policy Board
Activities of the MIC are overseen by the Policy Board, which is comprised of 18 elected officials and citizens (nine from Minnesota and nine from Wisconsin) who represent all local units of government within the planning area.
The professional planning staff at the Metropolitan Interstate Council conducts research, develops technical tools and analyses for the region. They consult with area jurisdictions and advise the Policy Board on transportation issues in the Duluth-Superior area. The MIC staff is comprised of professional planners, GIS, administrative and support personnel who conduct plans and studies pertaining to all modes of transportation in the Twin Ports area.
Three advisory committees, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), the Harbor Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) and the newest, the Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), meet regularly to provide specialized technical and stakeholder input into the planning processes.
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 created the federal requirement for urban transportation planning largely in response to the construction of the Interstate Highway System and the planning of routes through and around urban areas. The Act required, as a condition for receiving federal transportation funds, that projects in urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in population be based on a continuing, comprehensive, urban transportation planning process undertaken cooperatively by the states and local governments. Hence, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) quickly came into being because of the growing momentum of the highway program and the federal financing of the planning process.
The MIC was created as the MPO for the Duluth-Superior metropolitan area in 1975 under a joint agreement between the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) in Duluth, Minnesota, and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC) in Spooner, Wisconsin. The MIC is one of 409 MPOs nationwide.
The MIC is 80% federally funded by planning funds made available through the current version of the transportation funding bill, the 2015 FAST Act, and 20% by state and local matching funds.
Transportation plays a vital role in today’s economy, providing access to jobs, education, shopping, and recreation. It is an integral part of our mobile society, influencing urban development, economic vitality and quality of life.
MPOs such as the MIC are a forum for discussion and resolution of inter-jurisdictional transportation issues. A key goal is to focus the area’s limited transportation funding on projects that yield the greatest benefit and integrate with the existing transportation system.