Elected officials, transportation agencies, and the public have one last opportunity to comment on this year's update of the region's Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP) before the Transportation Planning Board considers it for final approval on October 15.
The TPB recently released a summary of the Draft 2014 CLRP and a number of other key supporting analyses to aid those interested in reviewing and commenting on this year's update.
The summary of the draft plan details the ten major projects proposed to be added to or changed in this year's update. Among the projects are new streetcar lines in the District of Columbia, revised plans for service and infrastructure improvements for MARC and VRE commuter rail services, and a handful of road-widening projects in Virginia.
The summary also includes a link to an online CLRP database, which details hundreds of other regionally significant highway, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian projects already in the plan, as well as a link to the online database for the six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which identifies specific projects to be implemented within the next six years.
Two of the most useful analyses accompanying this year's CLRP update are the Performance Analysis and the Priorities Plan Assessment of the draft plan. The Performance Analysis uses forecasts of future population and job growth patterns along with the system of roadways and transit planned in the CLRP to predict future changes in travel patterns and travel conditions. The Priorities Plan Assessment looks at how well the projects and programs in the CLRP, taken as a whole, support the strategies outlined in the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, approved by the TPB in January.
A vital component of this year's CLRP update is the federally required Air Quality Conformity Analysis of both the CLRP and the TIP. The analysis is carried out whenever the TPB updates the CLRP to determine whether future vehicle emissions under both plans will remain below approved regional limits known as "emissions budgets." The analysis uses forecasts of future population and job growth patterns and the planned system of roadways and transit together with anticipated changes in vehicle and fuel technology to predict future emissions.
Finally, the Financial Analysis for the 2014 CLRP provides revised estimates of how much revenue the region reasonably expects to be available for transportation through 2040, and how it generally expects to spend that money. The TPB carries out the financial analysis once every four years as required by federal law.
At its meeting on September 17, the TPB will review the draft 2014 CLRP, FY 2015-2020 TIP, and related analyses. The public comment period will close on October 11, with final TPB approval scheduled for October 15.
The 2014 CLRP update kicked off last November when the TPB called on area transportation agencies to submit new projects or changes to existing projects to include in this year's update. Following a public comment period in March and April on the proposed changes, the TPB carried out the federally required Air Quality Conformity Analysis. The public comment period that is currently underway provides an opportunity to comment on the results of that analysis, the proposed changes to the plan, or any other aspect of the update process.
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Stay tuned: Over the next three weeks, TPB Weekly Report will be covering the final stages of the 2014 CLRP update. Coverage will focus on the major regional projects in the plan, the updated Financial Analysis, and the results of the Performance Analysis and Priorities Plan Assessment of the draft plan.
To follow the coverage, please visit www.mwcog.org/CLRP2014 or follow #CLRP2014 on Twitter. For more TPB Weekly Report, including access to all previous issues, please visit: www.mwcog.org/TPBweeklyreport.