Today the Alliance urged the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board (TPB) to focus more attention on regional transportation investments that do the most to reduce congestion and delays. The Alliance’s full statement is below:
Alliance’s Comment on TPB’s Visualize 2045 Draft
Left to fester the transportation challenges that have plagued our area – congestion and delays — will choke the economic development and quality of life that have been cornerstones of our region for decades.
Fundamentally, we need more transportation capacity to move more people throughout our region. We also need more transportation funding and to ensure that existing and new funding are programmed in a manner that reduces transit and highway congestion and delays to the greatest extent possible.
The current divide between programmed transit and highway investments is dramatic. Currently, 66% of total transportation spending will be dedicated to transit while only 33% to roadways – despite transit only accounting for 7% of the total trips taken throughout the region. Even with the projected 38% ridership growth, the TPB’s own analysis indicates that transit trips will still make up around 7% of the total regional trips in 2045.
This does not mean we need substantial transit cuts – but it does underscore the region’s dramatic under investment in a network upon which over 80% of all daily trips depend and why, absent significantly greater investment in that network, regional congestion and delays will become dramatically worse.
To be clear, the Alliance is and has always been a strong supporter of increased investment in transit, ride sharing, mixed use, transit-oriented development and similar policies. However, it is hard to be confident that future programmed investments and the Visualize 2045 Draft best address actual future demand and needs.
In short, Visualize 2045 makes clear that we as a region are falling far short of the targeted transportation investments required to improve mobility to maintain prosperity, improve quality of life, and keep our region moving forward.
Meeting this challenge requires that that Visualize 2045 and the TPB’s subsequent actions embrace a far more focused approach on those transportation investments that best address the region’s most pressing transportation needs.
We can do better and we must.