Washington, D.C. – Following one of the largest regional transportation efforts since the launch of Metrorail, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) was notified today that the region would receive $58.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
TPB Chairman and Falls Church City Council Member Dave Snyder praised Board members, TPB staff, and the staffs of member governments, state departments of transportation, and area transit agencies for “a team effort that really paid off,” noting that “every citizen in the region is going to benefit from this funding.” Of more than 1,400 projects submitted, fewer than three percent were chosen for funding. “Given the level of competition, we should really be pleased,” said Snyder. “This really is a victory for regionalism.”
The funding comes from $1.5 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) reserved for a new multimodal discretionary grant program called TIGER, (standing for “Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery”). Per the requirements of the program, all components of the project must be completed by the end of 2012.
Over $26 million of the funding will go to improving bus transportation along priority corridors in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Improvements to these corridors include dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal priority, skip stop service, enhanced pedestrian access, real-time passenger information, and enhanced bus stops, among others. Focusing on corridors with the highest regional ridership, the purpose of these improvements is to increase ridership and reliability.
In addition, over $19.9 million was awarded for multimodal improvements to enable priority bus transit connecting Prince William and Fairfax Counties and the City of Alexandria with the District of Columbia. The aim is to provide high quality transit options for commuters and relieve pressure on the Metrorail system.
Finally, over $12.3 million of the funding will be used for the creation of a multimodal Takoma/Langley transit center in Prince George’s County, which will improve safety and intermodal access to priority bus corridors.
Two noteworthy components of the TIGER application, the K Street Transitway (total requested funding: $76.4 million) and a regional bike-sharing program (total requested funding: $13.4 million), were not awarded funding.
However, TPB Member and Arlington County Board Member Chris Zimmerman was optimistic that these projects will become a reality in the future. “The biggest benefit of this process is that we have created a foundation to build upon,” said Zimmerman, noting that the non-funded portions of the application would be ready for any future funding opportunities.
Zimmerman also echoed Snyder’s comments on the regional partnership behind the application. “This effort required a level of regional cooperation that is seldom achieved and was really quite successful in a number of ways,” said Zimmerman.
The TPB’s application, which was submitted on behalf of its member governments, state departments of transportation, and area transit agencies, had requested $204 million. In addition to the TIGER program, the ARRA will provide the region with hundreds of millions of dollars in formula funding for transportation.