Heartland 2050 Restructure Gives More Clout to Committee Recommendations


Heartland 2050 (H2050) has a new home. It will now officially be housed at MAPA and report to the MAPA Board. Previously H2050 was its own silo housed at MAPA but outside of the MAPA governance structure.

The H2050 Executive Committee will be restructured and will now be called the Heartland 2050 Regional Planning Advisory Committee (H2050 RPAC). This change in governance will not impact the day-to-day activities of the Implementation Committees or their working groups. The committee diagram below shows how the H2050 committees will fit into the MAPA committee structure. The revised H2050 RPAC will include city and county representatives, implementation committee chairs, representatives for utilities, Chamber of Commerce, and at-large members that reflect broad and inclusive perspectives, which is part of the Vision’s Guiding Principles.

H2050 RPAC Responsibilities

  • Review and make recommendations on MAPA LRTP to MAPA Board
  • Review and make recommendations on Regional Vision Goals and Strategies to MAPA Board
  • Oversee, create, and disband subcommittees and work groups
  • Review and recommend Grant and Funding Opportunities to MAPA Board and member jurisdictions
  • Provide updates on local planning and development
  • Coordinate data and monitor progress for regional growth and development
  • Serve as liaison to local communities and organizations

Why the Change?

 – Sustainability
By this restructure, it places the H2050 project on a more sustainable course.  MAPA will no longer seek separate funding requests from communities but will fund Heartland 2050 events, activities, and committee work through normal operating funds.  With this move MAPA is embracing the Regional Vision as a blueprint that helps to guide all of MAPA’s work, whereas the previous structure tended to isolate it from other agency activities.

– Role and Authority
By placing the committees and work groups as directly answerable to the MAPA Board of Directors, they are more fully incorporated into the MAPA structure.  This gives additional clout to committee recommendations and activities and more closely connects them to the local governments and organizations ultimately responsible for advancing the Vision.  The H2050 RPAC will provide a forum for communities to implement the Vision, collaboratively assess funding opportunities, and make recommendations to the MAPA Board and Council of Officials.

– Coordination with Related Planning Exercises
Other planning activities going on in the metro area, including the Chamber’s Prosper Omaha 2.0 / Greater Omaha 2040 and the Smart Cities Coalition coordinated by the Peter Kiewit Foundation, are recommending transportation plans that align with Heartland 2050’s “Big Idea” of creating more walkable, livable vibrant places that are connected by transportation corridors.  This shift will streamline the Heartland 2050 process and allow it to better coordinate with other related groups and activities.

Geographic Reach

To this point, the Heartland 2050 project has included the eight-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).  The MAPA region that funds MAPA activities includes a smaller, five-county region:

      • Douglas (NE)
      • Sarpy (NE)
      • Washington (NE)
      • Mills (IA)
      • Pottawattamie (IA)

MAPA funding provided by the five MAPA counties and from MAPA’s federal funding sources is not eligible to serve the full eight-county region.  Therefore, for funding sustainability the geographic scope of the project may need to be adjusted. We will have begun discussions of this change with representatives and will send correspondence to the outer three counties (Harrison, Cass, and Saunders).  If there is a desire on the part of these counties to be significantly involved in the project, then a financial contribution may be required. Of course, participation through attendance of committee meetings and events is open to anyone that would like to attend.