COG, WMATA Leaders Discuss Shared Priorities including System Maintenance, Core Capacity Improvements and Transit-Oriented Development

Feb 12, 2013

This story has received press coverage by WAMU and DCist.

Washington, D.C. – Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) CEO and General Manager Richard Sarles spoke before the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors today, addressing long term funding issues and plans that will relieve congestion on the bus, rail, and regional road networks. Metro’s plan to address sweeping capital improvements, Momentum, would tackle key issues such as implementing the use of 8-car trains at rush hour and station improvements, such as new connections between busy stations, through Metro 2025, a near-term solutions package.

This expanded capacity is forecast to remove 100,000 car trips from the region’s road networks and move 35,000 more commuters on the bus and road network, while providing a more comfortable, efficient ride for commuters. Sarles alluded to past regional efforts to secure funding for Metro and make improvements, “COG was here to begin this effort, now we ask COG to move this forward.”

The presentation to the COG Board came a month after D.C. area leaders approved the Transportation Planning Board’s Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, which identified maintenance of the existing Metro system and the need to add to its core capacity as critical priorities. The Priorities Plan was developed to inform area leaders as they set budgets and consider projects for 2014 and beyond.

Alexandria Mayor, COG Board Vice Chairman, and Metro Board Member Bill Euille said, “Leaders understand we need to make strategic investments in the infrastructure we worked so hard to build.” In this light, the COG Board unanimously passed a resolution, calling upon Congress to extend the current transportation funding bill, as well as replenish the diminished Highway Trust fund.  Euille continued, “Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia substantially increased their contributions to maintaining and expanding transit and roadway improvements. We need the federal government to do its part to ensure a safe, efficient and sustainable transportation system and strong regional economy.”

COG Board members also noted the transit system’s long-term success was essential as governments, businesses and Metro work together to concentrate more development around transit stations, another priority in the TPB plan, Momentum, as well as COG’s recent Place Opportunity report. All three reports reference Region Forward, COG and area governments’ vision plan for a more accessible, sustainable, livable and prosperous National Capital Region.

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