Inadequate Funding Impacts Future Highway Projects and Metro

May 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. – Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted today to advance the 2010 update of the region’s transportation plan.  The plan update, which must be consistent with available revenue, will delete and delay more projects than it will add due to funding shortfalls at the state and local levels.  Seven, new regionally-significant projects—such as the District of Columbia Bike Lane Pilot Project and Streetcar Project—are being added, while almost two dozen highway projects delayed or deleted by Maryland and Virginia.

TPB members called funding for area highway and transit projects inadequate and warned that the region’s transportation system will experience lower levels of service unless governments identify more revenue. 

“We are making the most of what we have and trying to maximize every dollar on all modes of transportation,” said TPB Chair and Falls Church Council Member David Snyder. 

The TPB will incorporate the changes to the plan in an air quality analysis this summer, which is the next step in the region’s transportation planning process.  TPB members will take final action on the update in the fall following the analysis to determine if the transportation plan meets federal air quality standards. 

Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley noted the number of projects being delayed and removed from the plan because of an unwillingness or inability to fund transportation.  “We need an adequate funding strategy for the region,” he said. 

Gary Erenrich of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation noted the shortage of transportation funding and said that “we have made the decision to fully fund all of our transit obligations like the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway while making reductions to some highway projects.”

The TPB also noted that current funding for maintaining the Metro system past 2020 is inadequate.  Because of this, planners must assume Metro will reach peak capacity in the region’s core in ten years, which will limit the number of transit trips and increase highway congestion. 

Arlington County Board Vice Chair Chris Zimmerman noted the Metro system’s $3 billion shortfall for future maintenance.  He said “funding is not sufficient for the transit agency to be able to do what people expect it to do.”

To view the proposed changes to the region’s transportation plan as well as comments received on the 2010 update, visit www.mwcog.org/clrp

 
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