Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments

Southwest Regional Transportation Planning Organization

The Southwest Regional Planning Organization’s (SWRPO) mission is to "Enhance transportation in Southwest New Mexico that will provide multimodal transportation for local governments and residents integrating economic and social opportunities."

Southwest Regional Planning Organization functions:

  • To serve as a forum and to elicit informed recommendations for multimodal transportation and enhancement projects.
  • To submit projects under certain funding categories to the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) after prioritizing them.
  • To promote the implementation of an efficient transportation network in the four county southwest region of New Mexico.

Make Up of SWRTPO

An important role of Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments is to help coordinate communications and programs dealing with transportation and transit within Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties through the Southwest Regional Planning Organization (SWRPO). SWRPO covers four counties which includes 13 incorporated communities in southwestern New Mexico. Southwest Regional Planning Organization’s boundaries include two NMDOT districts, District One and District Six.

The SWRPO serves as a board that works in conjunction with New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT). The transportation planner for the SWNMCOG helps this board by serving as a liaison between communities and NMDOT for any needs they may have including training in the field or in the office through the NMDOT Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

The SWRPO consists of a Policy Committee (SWNMCOG Board) and a Technical Advisory Committee. The Southwest Regional Planning Organization is made up of one appointed individual from each incorporated community in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties. Each local government from the region designates a representative to participate in the process on the Technical Advisory Committee. Every July the local governments designate or renew their representative to the SWRPO. The Policy Committee meets five times a year to review and finalize transportation project recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee. 


SWRPO Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meets to discuss any transportation-related projects within the four county area, as well as new implementations from the State or Federal level.

Representation is requested from all municipal, county, and tribal governments within Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties. Copies of the agenda may be obtained by contacting staff at the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, P.O. Box 2157, Silver City, NM 88062 or by calling (575) 388-1509, 24 hours prior to the meeting. All meetings are open and the public is invited.

Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, unless compelling reasons dictate otherwise, public meetings and hearings conducted by the SWRPO in conjunction with NMDOT will be held in accessible buildings. Given reasonable notice, interpreters and readers will be available to the hearing and visually impaired. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at NMDOT (505) 827-1777 by 5:00 p.m., seven business days before the meeting.

The Policy Committee and Technical Advisory Meeting (TAC) meeting locations are designated in the prior meeting. 

Transportation Project Process

How to Submit a Transportation Project

Although anyone can suggest a new project throughout the year, the SWRPO is required to publicize an open call for projects every year. As part of its commitment to public participation, the SWRPO invites citizens, stakeholders, and local governments to make project recommendations to be considered for inclusion.

If you are interested in submitting a project, please use the Project Feasibility Form, first, then speak with the SWRPO planner to set up a meeting with the NMDOT district, then if recommended, submit a Project Identification Form.

If you are a citizen interested in sponsoring a project, you must coordinate with the appropriate lead agency so they are aware of the proposal and they can make arrangements to review the forms. Also, the lead agency must demonstrate its ability to secure the local monetary match, if applicable, and oversee the project through design, construction, and maintenance.

All projects submitted to the SWRPO without prior feasibility review may experience a delay and may not be included in the list of this year's call for projects. Eligible projects include but are not limited to: roadway reconstruction, street/bicycle/pedestrian way construction, street lights, traffic signals, bridge improvements, and enhancement projects, such as landscaping and scenic preservation. Further description of eligible activities can be found in the RPO handbook. Eligible projects must conform to the SWRPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan.

Regional Transportation Improvement Program Recommendations (RTIPR)

The Regional Planning Organizations are the federally approved method for the State of New Mexico to determine transportation needs in non-metropolitan areas in consultation with local elected officials through a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive (3C) planning process.

All highway improvement projects constructed with federal funds must be included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). In addition, all Regionally Significant projects must be included in the STIP regardless of funding source. The Federal Highway Administration defines a regionally significant project as one that is on a facility which serves regional transportation needs.

The SWRPO has established a continuous, multi-year, prioritizing process for the review, rating and ranking of proposed transportation projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), Federal Transit Grants, Scenic Byways, Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs or other future designated funding programs. This includes an annual review of existing recommended projects for re-prioritizing based on regional, state and federal transportation priorities and an agreed upon process and criteria.

Transportation Funding Program

While various transportation programs are available through federal and state funding, SWRPO focuses on federal programs included on the NMDOT's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Transportation also deals with the major improvements occurring all around us on our nation's highways and our local roads, which the Regional Planning Organization ranks and rates every year to get put on the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to compete for State Transportation funds.

The SWRPO assists local and county governments or other eligible applicants to submit applications yearly. Roadway Improvement, Transportation Alternatives, Bridge, and Transit projects are rated and ranked by the designated Policy and Technical Advisory Committee local government representatives of the SWRPO. Recommendations are combined regionally, by NMDOT district and then are forwarded to NMDOT for possible inclusion in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

As with most federal programs, funding availability is limited. Once the review process has been completed (usually September), funding awards are announced.

SWRTPO's Publications

SWRTPO Handbook


SWRTPO's Long Range Transportation Plan