An article in Citiwire suggests that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are actually pretty good at planning, but lack the authority to put their plans into action.
Portland, where Metro plays the federally-mandated role of MPO, is one of the few places where the MPO has real authority.
But even here the politics are tough. Local governments are loathe to surrender what they perceive as their local needs to a greater regional good. Witness the local flap over adding industrial land to the UGB in Cornelius.
With or without statutory authority, the politics of regional planning are hard.