The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) today presented a detailed analysis of the region’s short-term transportation funding needs.
In a new brochure titled “Time to Act,” the TPB outlines a comprehensive summary of transportation funding needs for the metropolitan Washington region from 2005 to 2010. The brochure was developed by the TPB in response to serious transportation funding shortfalls and a looming gridlock crisis threatening the region’s roadways and transit systems. It outlines unfunded transportation needs totaling $13.2 billion in the District of Columbia, Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.
“This analysis addresses a situation of dire and urgent need affecting our region’s economy and the quality of life people have come to expect,” said TPB Chair Chris Zimmerman. “We are not talking about amenities here. We went through a process of scaling back and looking at what projects are absolutely needed. Now we have a choice about what our very near future will look like.”
The TPB is working to coordinate efforts at the federal, state, regional and local levels to help prepare roadways and transit systems for projected growth of more than 30 percent over the next 25 years. “The important thing to remember is that the projects outlined are not nice-to-haves, but must-haves,” said TPB Second Vice Chair Michael Knapp. “We are unified as a body because these projects are critical.”
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) faces a particularly critical shortfall of $2.2 billion for system improvements, including capacity and access enhancements. “There is an increasing sense of urgency that is affecting the quality of life and work for people,” said Richard White, WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. “We are literally at the precipice of a fiscal crisis.”
Other regional transit and highway needs include:
· Deferred bridge replacement and bridge and highway maintenance.
· New technology to monitor and optimize traffic flow and incident management.
· Widening of selected highway segments and construction of new interchanges and facilities.
· Improved sidewalk and bicycle trails.
· Rehabilitation and maintenance of the region’s Metrorail and Metrobus system.
· Increasing capacity of the MARC and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail services.
· Enhancing the region’s local bus systems.
“We need to be able to move forward with these transportation projects that will improve our ability to take care of air quality issues as well,” said Phil Mendelson, TPB Vice Chair and Chair of the COG Board of Directors. ““If we’re having difficulty with meeting federal air quality standards now, that problem will continue and be even greater if we don’t address these needs.”