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TPB Weekly Report

September 23, 2014

2014 CLRP Maps Hundreds of Highway and Transit Improvements Planned Through 2040

More than 300 regionally significant improvements to the Washington region's highway and transit system through 2040 are detailed in the final draft of this year's update of the Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP), available for public comment through October 11.

In all, the draft plan spells out some $42 billion in capital improvements that add nearly 1,200 lane-miles of new or widened roadways and 44 miles of new Metrorail, light rail, streetcar, or commuter rail transit. That's a 7% increase in the total number of lane-miles of roadway compared to today, and a 15% increase in the total miles of rail transit.

Among the most significant roadway improvements in the plan is the proposed widening of nearly 33 miles of I-270 and US 15 in Frederick and Montgomery counties in Maryland, with the possibility of adding high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) or express toll lanes. The project is slated to cost nearly $5.5 billion and to be complete by 2030.

Two other major roadway improvements, due to be complete as early as next year, are the 95 Express Lanes in Virginia and major upgrades to South Capitol Street in the District of Columbia, including the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. The projects will cost $982 million and $823 million, respectively.

More than 300 additional road-widening, interchange, or other roadway improvements are included in the CLRP, as are hundreds of smaller projects that address operational efficiency or safety needs without adding capacity, or that expand infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

On the transit side, the two most significant capacity-expansion projects in the plan are the second phase of Metro's new Silver Line in Virginia and the proposed Purple Line in Maryland, both of which are slated to be operational within the next six years.

The Silver Line's second phase, which is expected to cost $2.8 billion, will extend the transit line an additional 12 miles to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County. The Purple Line, slated to cost $2.4 billion, will run approximately 16 miles between Bethesda and New Carrollton, providing rail connections between four existing Metrorail lines that radiate into Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Other notable transit projects in the 2014 CLRP include the 14-mile Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) in Maryland, approximately 13 miles of new streetcar lines in the District, the 4.7-mile Columbia Pike streetcar line in Arlington, and service expansions on most MARC and VRE commuter rail lines.

The projects included in the 2014 CLRP represent what local, state, and regional transportation agencies in the region reasonably expect to be able to afford through 2040, given existing or anticipated sources of revenue over the next 26 years. In all, the draft 2014 CLRP outlines some $244 billion in spending on transportation through 2040.

Only 17% of the total funding will go to projects that expand capacity. The remaining 83% -- just over $200 billion -- will be devoted to keeping the current system in a state of good repair and to handling day-to-day maintenance and operations, including repaving roadways, clearing snow and debris, servicing transit vehicles, and paying train and bus operators.

The TPB updates the CLRP each year to include new projects and programs as priorities change and funding for new initiatives is identified. This year's update features ten major new projects or changes to existing projects.

The TPB kicked off the 2014 CLRP update last November when it called on area transportation agencies to submit new projects or changes to existing projects to consider for inclusion in the 2014 update. This summer, the TPB carried out the federally required Air Quality Conformity Analysis to demonstrate that future vehicle emissions under the proposed plan would remain below approved limits.

Public comment on the results of that analysis, the proposed changes to the plan, or any other aspect of the update process is open until October 11. The TPB will consider the 2014 CLRP for final approval on October 15.

* * *

Stay tuned: TPB Weekly Report's coverage of the final stages of the 2014 CLRP update continues September 30 with details on the updated Financial Analysis for the 2014 CLRP, and on October 7 with the results of the Performance Analysis and Priorities Plan Assessment of the draft plan.

To follow all coverage, please visit www.mwcog.org/CLRP2014 or follow #CLRP2014 on Twitter. For more TPB Weekly Report, including access to all previous issues, please visit: www.mwcog.org/TPBweeklyreport.

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To download a PDF version of this issue of TPB Weekly Report, click here.


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"TPB Weekly Report" is an online publication designed to provide brief, timely summaries of recent TPB research, analysis, outreach, and planning in the metropolitan Washington region.

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Questions and comments about "TPB Weekly Report" should be directed to Ben Hampton.