The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area. Every urbanized area in the United States with a population of
over 50,000 must have a designated MPO for transportation in order to qualify for any Federal transportation funding. The simple purpose of each MPO is to provide a forum for State and local officials to discuss transportation issues and reach a consensus on transportation plans and specific programs of transportation projects. CDTC fulfills this purpose for both the Albany and Saratoga Springs urbanized areas and surrounding communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) relies on each MPO to make sure that the transportation projects that use Federal funds are the products of a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative planning process and meet the priorities of the metropolitan area. Federal law requires CDTC to maintain an up-to-date Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to guide decisions regarding the
over $100 Million in annual federal highway and transit funds (including match) spent in the Capital District. To put "teeth" into the MPO process, the USDOT will not approve metropolitan transportation projects unless they are on the MPO's program - the budget-constrained Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
CDTC has its origins in the old Capital District Transportation Study (CDTS), set up in 1965 through agreements between New York State and the four Capital District counties (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady) and the 78 municipalities in those counties. Membership and participation has expanded over the years, and currently the CDTC
is composed of elected and appointed officials from
the four counties;
eight cities (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Cohoes, Watervliet, Mechanicville and Rensselaer);
the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT);
the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA);
the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC);
the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA);
the Albany Port District Commission*;
the Albany County Airport Authority; and
the Town of Colonie; and
at-large members representing the area's towns and villages.
This membership list is larger and more comprehensive than for most MPOs. Additionally, a technical group (CDTC’s
) includes the planning counterparts to the Policy Board officials as well as planners from a number of other towns and villages. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) serve as advisory members at both policy and planning levels.
The CDTC sets its own broad agenda for planning activities. With a small professional staff funded with FHWA, FTA and county funds and the assistance of other member agencies, it investigates issues critical to the future of the Capital District. CDTC's planning approach can be characterized by two words: Stewardship and Vision. Stewardship refers to the responsibility of CDTC (collectively) to care for that which has been entrusted to us. CDTC has responsibility for existing transportation facilities and services, public resources, personal resources that are impacted by transportation decisions (like safety, comfort, and convenience, in addition to dollars and cents), and natural resources. Vision refers to the responsibility of CDTC to look to the long-range future of the area and make sure that the transportation system works then as well as now. The goals of the Capital District's residents, businesses and communities must be incorporated into our plans and programs. An awareness of problems to be averted and the development of innovative ways to achieve the region's goals are important to achieving and maintaining economic health and quality of life here.
CDTC is a recognized national leader in many planning and policy areas: the range of issues addressed through the CDTC forum is unusually broad; the coordination of land use and transportation policy is extensive; and the respect for CDTC as a collaborative decision-making forum is high. CDTC’s policies and products represent strong consensus positions of the Capital Region and have very real impacts on real world actions.