How Our Region Invests Its Transportation Dollars

Posted on September 18, 2014 in: PrioritizationTransportation FundingTransportation Planning Board

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is seeking public comment on its draft $244 billion FY 2014-2040 fiscally Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP).

The following chart shows how revenues have been distributed among modes in CLRP’s since FY 2000:





2000 50%        50%
2003 60%        40%
2006 57%        43%
2010 64%        36%
2014 59%        41%


According to the TPB’s draft financial analysis of the FY2014 CLRP, “Public transportation is expected to consume 59% of the revenues with highway taking up 41 percent. Of the total revenues, WMATA will absorb about 41 percent of the region’s revenue for transportation.” (To read the entire analysis click here.)

The actual dollar breakdown is as follows:

  • WMATA/Metro (41%) – $101 billion
  • Highways (41%) – $99 billion
  • Local Transit (18%) – $44 billion

Eighty-two percent ($202 billion) of all funds will go to operate and maintain the region’s transit and highway network; only 18% ($42.5 billion) for new capacity. The good news is that the amount for WMATA includes $25 billion to keep the system in a state of good repair. However, the $6 billion requested for WMATA’s 2025 improvement program that includes 8-car trains, is not included.

The TPB’s latest percentages on area residents’ daily travel modes appear below and are not expected to change much between now and 2040:

  • Auto-82%
  • Walk/bike-11%
  • Public Transit – 7%

Highways and transit have many important needs – funded and unfunded. It is not realistic or wise to mandate that transportation funds be distributed proportional to use for many reasons.

A closer examination is needed of how existing funds are being invested and, more importantly, it’s time to adopt funding strategies for unfunded projects of greatest regional significance.

 Stay Tuned…