Every metropolitan area with a population of more than 50,000 persons must have a designated Metropolitan Organization to qualify to federal highway or transit funds assistance. The Harlingen San Benito-MPO area is composed of nine member cities listed above. It is important that the MPO membership is made of locally elected officials of the cities and counties within the urbanized area.
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) relies on the MPO to ensure that highway and transit projets that use federal funds are products of a creditable planning process and meet local priorities. USDOT will not approve federal funding for urban highway and transit projects unless they are on the MPO's program. Thus, the MPO's role is to develop and maintain the necessary transportation plans for the area to assure federal funds support locall developed plans.