Washington, D.C. – Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) were briefed this morning on the current status of regional transportation projects and the federal stimulus package, focusing on the amount of funding that the region can anticipate receiving as well as how those funds should be allocated.
The TPB’s representatives for the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the District Department of Transportation, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) estimated the amount of funding they expect to receive from the stimulus. Virginia is expecting to receive $700-800 million for transportation projects, while Maryland expects $600-700 million. The Virginia and Maryland estimates are applicable to the states as a whole, not solely the jurisdictions in the metropolitan Washington area. The District of Columbia anticipates receiving at least $120 million, while WMATA is expecting to receive at least $275 million. The total amount the region anticipates receiving from the stimulus is equivalent to approximately one full year of federal transportation funding.
TPB members expressed the importance that a substantial percentage of these funds be directed from the states to metropolitan regions. David Snyder, TPB Vice Chair and Falls Church City Council Member suggested that the TPB “reiterate to our Congressional delegation our request that at least 35 percent of transportation-related stimulus funding be sub-allocated to metropolitan regions.” Snyder stated that in order for the region to ensure that the federal stimulus funding it receives is implemented to achieve “maximum value, in both dollars and performance” members of the TPB must be actively involved in the process.
The representatives from all three Departments of Transportation noted that due to the requirement that a substantial number of projects be “shovel-ready,” maintenance and preservation projects were the most likely to receive consideration for funding. However, Ronald Kirby, Director of COG’s Department of Transportation Planning, explained that the current bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate provides $5.5 billion in grants for transportation projects to be awarded on a competitive basis. Kirby noted that this could serve as a source for funding more ambitious projects like the Light-Rail Purple Line in Suburban Maryland.