Cape Fear bridge

I’ve never heard of an MPO. What is it?
Many people are surprised to learn of the vital role an MPO plays in transportation and transit projects in their area. Federal law mandates that an area with over 50,000 in population must have a designated Metropolitan Planning Organization in order to qualify for federal highway or transit assistance. The MPO conducts local transportation planning and is required to establish a planning process that is comprehensive, continuing, and cooperative (the 3-Cs of transportation planning). If a project is not in the MPO’s plan, it will not receive funding.

So the Wilmington MPO builds our roads, right?
Not exactly. The WMPO only coordinates the planning and programming of funding for road projects. Once the funding is programmed by the MPO, the project is the responsibility of the sponsoring jurisdiction (city, county, or state) through its contract with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Is my city/town included in the WMPO?
Member jurisdictions include: Wilmington, all of New Hanover County, portions of Brunswick & Pender Counties, Leland, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, Belville, and Navassa. View our planning area map for more details.

Who pays for the operation of the WMPO?
Funding to operate the MPO comes from federal planning grants, which includes highway and transit programs. Each grant is matched by a local contribution.

How can I voice concern about a project in my area?
There is a public comment period that precedes each WMPO Board meeting, which is typically held the last Wednesday of each month. A person must sign up prior to the meeting in order to speak. Comments can also be provided to the local WMPO Board representative. Please see our Board page for contact info.

How many MPOs are in North Carolina?
19. (French Broad River (Asheville), Burlington, Cabarrus-Rowan, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Fayetteville, Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory-Newton-Conover, High Point, Jacksonville, New Bern, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, and the Grand Strand MPO (Myrtle Beach, SC), which extends into North Carolina.)