The Transportation Planning Board recently approved the appointments of 15 members -- five each from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia -- to serve on its Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the coming year. It also appointed eight alternate members.
The mission of the CAC is to promote public involvement in transportation planning for the region and to provide independent, region-oriented citizen advice to the TPB on regional transportation plans and issues.
This year's committee is made up of individuals with diverse professional and educational backgrounds, including law, business, planning, and teaching. Members hail from all corners of the region, including Centreville, McLean, Alexandria, Rockville, Bladensburg, and the District. And they represent a wide range of modal interests and perspectives -- some are avid bicycling advocates, others major proponents of key roadway investments, and others yet strong supporters of major transit expansions.
CAC members are selected either by the TPB's three incoming officers, each representing one of the three state-level jurisdictions in the region, or by the previous year's CAC. The incoming officers each select three members from their respective jurisdiction, while the previous year's CAC elects six members from among the previous year's committee, two each from Maryland, Virginia, and the District.
The CAC has been providing independent, region-oriented advice to the TPB since 1992, when changes to federal transportation rules called for a formalized public involvement process in regional transportation decision-making.
One of the CAC's most significant achievements in the last 23 years was successfully advocating for ample accommodation of pedestrians, bicyclists, and future transit service in the design of the Capital Beltway's new Woodrow Wilson Bridge across the Potomac River. The new bridge opened in 2010 with the recommended accommodations.
Another accomplishment, in the early 2000s, was pushing the TPB to begin a series of integrated transportation and land-use scenario studies, a multi-year effort that led in 2007 to the creation of the TPB's popular Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program.
And, in 2009, the CAC formally requested that the TPB develop a more strategic process for identifying major regional transportation investments to support regional goals. That recommendation ultimately led to the development of the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, which the TPB approved in January 2014.
Over the past year, the CAC has been focused on identifying ways for the Priorities Plan to influence decision-making at the local and regional level. One step the TPB took in 2014 in response to the CAC's interest was to carry out an assessment of the region's Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP) to see how well it supported or advanced regional priorities outlined in the Priorities Plan.
In 2014, the CAC also focused on the need for more TPB engagement with local Congressional representatives ahead of an anticipated reauthorization later this year of MAP-21, the law authorizing federal spending on transportation and regional planning activities.
The first meeting of the 2015 CAC is February 12, 2015. The committee typically meets at 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the regular monthly meeting of the TPB. Meetings provide an opportunity for the committee to review and comment on items on the TPB's agenda for the coming month, and to discuss other important transportation issues.
For more information about the TPB's Citizens Advisory Committee, go to www.mwcog.org/CAC.