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Program Overview

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is the lead agency for a bi-state MPO, comprised of the urbanized area of Longview and Kelso, Washington and (crossing over the Columbia River) the city of Rainier, Oregon. The urbanized area, originally designated as an MPO in 1982 by federal and state governments, covers an area of over 66,000 people. The Cowlitz area Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) accomplishes much of the groundwork prior to CWCOG consideration.

The CWCOG, as the lead agency for long-range transportation planning, is instrumental in the planning for major transportation network improvements that are implemented by the participating local governments. As a result of this planning over the past 15 years, the urban area has generated over $100 million in actual projects.

The transportation plaI5N-Kelsonning staff works closely with local agencies, ports, and private sector representatives and stakeholders in the development of the long-range transportation planning activities for the urbanized area.

CWCOG staff develops the transportation improvement program (TIP), assists in the allocation of federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds, and updates the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Funding for these activities primarily comes from state and federal sources with a match provided by local jurisdictions. A bi-annual Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is developed to guide the MPO and Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO) work program.



Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO)

CWCOG is the lead agency for the five-county Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization comprised of Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties. Regional Transportation Planning Organizations were enabled by the legislature in 1992 to allow counties to voluntarily group together and provide regional transportation planning services. RTPO activities are supported by state funds.

CWCOG transportation planning staff works with the local agencies in the five-county area to carry out regional transportation planning activities covering a wide array of transportation-related issues. CWCOG collaborates with the five counties to prioritize transportation needs and assists in securing funds to complete projects that keep the regional transportation network up to date.


The SWRTPO is comprised of one county commissioner from each participating county, representatives from participating cities, port district representatives, administrators from two  Washington State Department of Transportation regions, and legislators from districts 18, 19, 20, 24 and 35.  The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments Metropolitan and Regional Transportation Planning Organization Member Jurisdictions and Agencies can be viewed at the link below.

Member Jurisdictions and Agencies

The board is responsible for developing and adopting the Regional Transportation Plan and a planning work program through which the RTPO addresses transportation issues in a coordinated and cooperative manner. For Lewis and Pacific counties, the board certifies that transportation elements in local comprehensive plans are consistent with the regional plan. The CWCOG contracts directly with the Grays Harbor Council of Governments and the Lewis County Transportation Strategy Council to conduct transportation planning activities in those counties. CWCOG staff is responsible for transportation planning in Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Pacific counties.

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Cowlitz Area Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

The Cowlitz Area TAC is comprised of engineers and planners representing local jurisdictions, special purpose districts, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The TAC provides staff level input to the activities being undertaken and forwards its recommendations for adoption by the CWCOG Board. The TAC provides policy review and guidance to activities and projects that will require action or adoption by the Boards and/or local jurisdictions. The TACs assist CWCOG staff in developing the annual work program, as well as the Regional Transportation Improvement Program.


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Plans & Studies


2016 Bicycle/Pedestrian Assessment The Bicycle and Pedestrian Assessment accomplishes the following objectives: identifies a regional long-range (20-25 years) proposed bicycle and pedestrian network; generates a list of short-range (1-5 years) top priorities by county; analyzes bicycle and pedestrian crash data; and advances the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)’s active transportation goal and its policies by developing long-range active transportation strategies for the Southwest Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO) five county region. 

2040 Regional Transportation Plan The RTP is a 25 year look into the future that covers the five-county SWRTPO area. The MTP is a long range plan that covers the same planning period for the MPO urban area.  The RTP is written as one document and sets the vision for long-term transportation needs of the region.

Below please find the link to each individual section of the Regional Transportation Plan.


Front Matter Chapter 5 - Needs Assessment - Gaps Analysis
Table of Contents Chapter 6 - Plan Implementation
Executive Summary Chapter 7 - Financial Constraints
Chapter 1 - Introduction Appendix A - Acronyms and Glossary
Chapter 2 - Demographics and Regional Patterns Appendix B - Relationship to other Plans
Chapter 3 - Policy Elements Appendix C - CWCOG Public Participation Plan
Chapter 4 - Existing Transportation Conditions Appendix D - Federal MPO Requirements


2017 MPO Regional Transportation Improvement Amendment Process

Last Day to Submit Projects for RTIP Amendment (for MPO projects needing formal amendments) Public Comment Begins (for MPO projects needing formal amendments)

Approved by CWCOG Board (for MPO projects needing formal amendments)

Submitted to WSDOT (for inclusion in STIP)
January* 12/16/16 12/21/16 1/26/17 2/17/17
February 1/13/17 1/18/17 2/23/17 3/17/17
March* 2/10/17 2/15/17 3/23/17 4/21/17
April 3/17/17 3/22/17 4/27/17 5/19/17
May 4/14/17 4/19/17 5/25/17 6/16/17
June 5/12/17 5/17/17 6/22/17 7/21/17
July 6/16/17 6/21/17 7/27/17 8/18/17
August 7/14/17 7/19/17 8/24/17 9/15/17
September 8/18/17 8/23/17 9/28/17 10/20/17
October No Amendments in October    

* Includes SWRTPO projects only

2017-2020 Regional Transportation Improvement Program CWCOG is required by federal and state regulations to develop a Transportation Improvement Program for its Metropolitan and Regional Transportation Planning Organizations which spans a four-year period and is updated at least every two years, or more frequently.  This Regional TIP (RTIP) includes the transportation projects for both the MPO and the RTPO.  The RTIP is the financial plan that identifies and prioritizes federally funded transportation projects to be carried out in the Longview-Kelso-Rainier MPO and across the SWRTPO region.  The primary purpose of the RTIP is to identify and document federally funded transportation projects that are to be included in the Washington State Department of Transportation's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

SFY 2016 Obligation and Closure Report The purpose of this report is to demonstrate continued coordination between the agencies responsible for implementing projects programmed in the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). Those agencies include CWCOG, RiverCities Transit, Cowlitz County, City of Longview, City of Kelso, and the Washington State Department of Transportation - Swouthwest Region (WSDOT - SW Region). In addition, the report serves as an evaluation tool for projects programmed in the RTIP's preceding program year.

FY 2017 Unified Planning Work Program (available in April) The annual UPWP is a federally required statement of how state and federal funds will be used for transportation planning purposes by the COG during the next fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). The program is developed by COG transportation planning staff in cooperation with our RTPO/MPO member agencies and the WSDOT Southwest Region, and is reviewed by the FHWA, FTA and WSDOT before being presented to the COG Board for adoption. The document outlines the regional transportation work program and must follow guidelines set forth in state and federal regulations.

FY2016 Unified Planning Work Program Annual Report The UPWP Annual Report summarizes progress made on approved UPWP tasks, programs, and planning activities.  The annual report includes: comparison of actual performance with established goals, budgeted amounts compared to actual expenses, cost overruns or underruns, and approved work program revisions.  This report is a documentation of the requirements listed above.


Public Participation Plan (PPP) The SWRTPO/MPO’s Public Participation Plan outlines the methods for public participation and outreach strategies for transportation planning programs and activities.


Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan

This plan is developed to respond to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Washington State  Department of Transportation (WSDOT) requirements that all transit projects funded by FTA programs serve the transportation needs of the transit dependent (i.e. low income, elderly and disabled persons) and include them in a coordinated transit plan.   Updated Plan



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Data / Information

Kelso-Longview Great Streets Concept (44 MB)

Industrial Way / Oregon Way Intersection Project

Cowlitz County Regional Trails

Urban Maps

Map of Five-County Area

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calendar icon

Cowlitz Area TAC meets 1st Thursday of every month at 3:30 pm at the Cowlitz County Public Works Building.

PCOG TAC meets every other month at 10:30am beginning in February 2017 at the Cowlitz County Public Works Building.

Wahkiakum TAC meets every other month at 10:00am beginning in February 2017 location to be determined.

SWRTPO meets quarterly beginning January 20, time, and location to be determined.         


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Local Regional National
RiverCities Transit, RCT Washington State Department of Transportation, WSDOT Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, AMPO
Grays Harbor Council of Governments, GHCOG Southwest Region Washington State Department of Transportation Federal Highways Administration, FHWA
Lewis County Public Works Department Southwest Washington Regional Airport Federal Transit Administration, FTA
Pacific County Economic Development Council, PCEDC Columbia County Public Transit (CC Rider) National Association of Regional Councils, NARC
  Olympic Region Washington State Department of Transportation Transportation Research Board, TRB
  Washington Department of Transportation Aviation West Coast Corridor Coalition, WCCC


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Contact Staff

For further information, please contact us at, or call 360.577.3041.

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments
Administration Annex
207 4th Avenue North
Kelso, WA 98626

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Directions to our office

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