Planning panel appoints new full-time executive director

CACHE COUNTY – The Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization (CMPO) is reorganizing with the goal of securing additional funding for local transportation projects.

“Something I’ve heard for years is that Cache County hasn’t historically received its fair share of road funding,” County Executive David Zook said Tuesday during a meeting of the CMPO’s executive council.

“That something we’re going to change,” Zook pledged. “We will do that by ensuring that we have strong communication between the CMPO, local governments, the Utah Department of Transportation, the state Legislature, Gov. Spencer Cox and the State Transportation Commission.”

As a first step toward that goal, members of the CMPO executive voted to appoint Jeff Gilbert to replace Jim Glass as the organization’s executive director.

The CMPO was organized in 1992 and serves 10 communities in Cache County from Smithfield to Hyrum. The organization performs long-range transportation planning and helps to prioritize highway, public transit and pedestrian/bicycle facility investments.

Glass, who has served as executive director of the CMPO on a part-time basis for nearly 30 years, recently announced his intent to retire.

“Jim has done so much to serve our community,” according to Zook. “Cache County is in a much better position today due to his expertise and leadership.”

Gilbert has served as a transportation planner for the CMPO since 2005. Prior to that, he worked as a planner and community development director for the Bear River Association of Governments.

Zook said Tuesday that he is looking forward to working with Gilbert to address the county’s most pressing issue; that is making certain that the county’s transportation network keeps up with the area’s rapid growth.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the executive council voted to make its executive director a full-time position and also urged Gilbert to look at additional hiring to bring CMPO staffing levels in line with those found in organizations serving comparably sized communities.

A recent example of CMPO coordination with state officials has been efforts to ensure that Main Street in Logan receives adequate funding to alleviate congestion caused by increased traffic volume.

That effort included state Sen. Chris Wilson, state Rep. Dan Johnson, Logan Mayor Holly Daines and Zook recently providing testimony before the State Transportation Commission.

At a meeting slated in Moab on Friday, that state panel will discuss allocating $52 million for Main Street improvements.

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