The Franklin County RPO/MPO adopted an official Public Participation Plan (PPP) in February 2013. The PPP brings consistency in outreach practices, ensures public awareness of key strategies and projects, and provides a flexible approach to addressing environmental justice principles. Public outreach efforts related to the development and adoption of the LRTP are in compliance with the recently adopted PPP. Sample outreach materials are provided in Appendix B. Updates to the LRTP will similarly include public outreach as outlined in the official PPP.
In the absence of an adopted PPP, the public outreach efforts were focused through participation in the publicly advertised RPO meetings, Advisory Committee meetings, COG meetings, and the regular activities and outreach efforts of the Franklin County Planning Commission (FCPC). These meetings were held throughout the roughly 18-month schedule at least every other month. A section of the FCPC website also identified the fact that the LRTP planning effort was under way and offered input and comment opportunities. Also, since the LRTP serves as the transportation element of the County Comprehensive Plan and much of the comprehensive plan efforts coincided with the LRTP, the outreach efforts of the comprehensive plan further supplemented the LRTP activities.
A side benefit of the RPO meetings was the routine participation of the local newspaper, the Public Opinion, at many of the bimonthly meetings. There were a number of articles published on the LRTP effort which were then circulated throughout the county. Such articles helped advertise the effort and make the public aware of the oversight role of the FCPC as the most direct route for input into the process.
Municipal input was sought at numerous times throughout the planning effort, including direct email communications soliciting input into the transportation goals and objectives and transportation needs. The municipal outreach also included presentations to the Franklin County COG, which includes representation from 19 of the county's 22 municipalities, five school districts, and the county government. By soliciting municipal input directly for the LRTP, locally-elected officials were kept aware of the LRTP status and content. The municipal outreach became a cornerstone in the effort to make the general public aware of the planning effort through discussions at local municipal meetings.
The meetings and outreach efforts were further supplemented by a series of stakeholder interviews focusing on local representatives with specific local knowledge of the various transportation modes addressed in the LRTP. Examples of stakeholder interviewees include representation from the authority that manages Chambersburg Airport, the Franklin County demand response transit service provider, Norfolk Southern and CSX representatives, Chamber of Commerce and other economic development organizations, bicycle/pedestrian organizations, PennDOT District 8-0, and others.
There were two special outreach efforts that were also addressed throughout the development of the LRTP. These include Environmental Justice (EJ) populations and tribal consultation. The research and outreach conducted to address potential concerns of these populations are outlined below. Further enhancements to EJ and tribal outreach efforts have been addressed through the development of the PPP in early 2013, so that all updates of the LRTP will incorporate input from these groups to the maximum extent practicable.