Purpose and Structure of RTPO’s in Washington State

Skagit Island RTPO Map

RTPO’s are voluntary organizations of local government for the purpose of coordinating transportation planning.  The authority to form Regional Transportation Planning Organizations was established in 1990 as part of the passage of the Growth Management Act.  RTPO’s develop regional transportation plans and Regional Transportation Improvement Programs (RTIPs) and have been active in the development of Washington’s Transportation Plan and the statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan.

There are fourteen RTPO’s in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Transportation must verify that each RTPO conforms to statutory requirements. Island County Sub-Regional RTPO and the Skagit County Sub-Regional RTPO make up the Skagit/Island RTPO.  

The Skagit-Island RTPO is broken down into two sub-regional RTPO’s and each has a policy board comprised of elected officials of the member jurisdictions and other representatives. The Island Sub-Regional Policy Board is the decision making body for Island County.

keyston monument

In urbanized areas, RTPO’s must be the same organization as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the designated area.  An area must have a minimum population of 100,000 people in order to qualify as an MPO.  As a consequence, there are no MPO’s in Island County.  In Skagit County there is an MPO.