At its June meeting, the Transportation Planning Board endorsed COG’s Statement of Principles on Metro expressing support for the system and for Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s “Keeping Metro Safe, Reliable, and Affordable” plan. Board members also received updates on planned public outreach activities for the TPB’s new Visualize 2045 long-range plan and on the work of the TPB’s Long-Range Plan Task Force.
TPB expresses its support for Metro and dedicated funding
At its June 21 meeting, the TPB endorsed a COG Board-approved set of principles expressing support for Metro and resolving to support Metro’s improvement initiatives.
COG Executive Director Chuck Bean outlined the set of principles which the COG Board of Directors adopted at its June 14 meeting. Among other things, the principles states that it is a priority for the region to bridge the gap in funding for Metro’s capital needs. It calls on the region to collaborate to accomplish the funding goals by the start of Metro’s 2019 fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2018.
Together, the principles aim to guide a regional strategy to secure funding to meet Metro’s needs, with a goal of a fully restored, world-class Metro system that is safe, fiscally responsible, and maintained in a state of good repair.
TPB board member Ron Meyer (Loudoun County) spoke in support of both the resolution and the work WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has done so far, including changes to labor and management practices. “Some of these things are not small. It’s important for the region to support these reforms,” he said.
TPB Second Vice Chairman Jay Fisette urged fellow board members to join in endorsing the COG principles: “This resolution is good. It’s a real step forward, and we should show our support.”
Outreach is underway for the new Visualize 2045 long-range plan
As part of the development of Visualize 2045, the TPB’s new long-range transportation plan, a public opinion survey is currently underway to “take the pulse” of the region’s residents and what they think about transportation. The board was briefed on these activities at its June meeting.
Staff reported that survey input will be gathered by two means. One is through a “controlled sample” of randomly selected households to ensure a representative sample of the region’s population. The other is through an open version of the survey that invites participation from any member of the public who is interested in sharing their opinions.
To augment responses to the open survey, the TPB will be sending survey teams out to popular community events throughout the region. Board members were asked to help spread the word in their home jurisdictions about the events and to promote the open survey more broadly.
Board member Dan Emerine (DC Office of Planning) asked whether the survey would gather opinions about land-use patterns and their relationship to transportation challenges. Staff explained that while the survey does ask about land-use, further outreach in the fall, including focus groups and community meetings, will provide an opportunity to dig into these issues in much greater detail.
Board member Ron Meyer (Loudoun Co.) asked whether the controlled sample of responses would be statistically significant at the individual jurisdiction level. Staff explained that the survey was designed to paint a picture of regional opinion and that the sampling will not provide enough information to drill down to the local level.
The Long-Range Plan Task Force is closing in on its goal
TPB Second Vice Chairman Jay Fisette updated the board on the work of the Long-Range Plan Task Force, a group he serves as chairman. According to Fisette, the task force last met on June 7 to continue narrowing down its list of potential projects, programs, and policies to no more than 10 “bundles” of related initiatives to recommend for further analysis by the TPB. Fisette explained that the group has begun bundling individual initiatives to aid in the eventual analysis of regional benefits, realizing that many initiatives are mutually supportive and are thus best analyzed jointly.
Heading into the next meeting, which took place immediately following the June 21 TPB meeting, the group had narrowed its list of more than 80 potential projects, programs, and policies to just 14 bundles. Fisette explained that at the June 21 meeting and at the next meeting on July 5, the task force would work on refining the bundles further and finalizing a list of ten to recommend to the TPB for analysis. Once analyzed, those bundles or individual initiatives with the greatest potential benefits will be considered for highlighting by the TPB.
All of the actions taken by the TPB at its June 21 meeting
- Approved regional Transit Asset Management targets. The targets—for the age and condition of transit vehicles, stations, facilities, and equipment—are required under federal rules finalized last year. The board approved the set of targets that consider the diversity of transit systems in the region. Learn more.
- Endorsed the COG resolutions in support of Metro. On June 14, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors approved a set of principles to guide the region to a goal of restoring Metro to be a world-class transit system. The TPB endorsed these principles and WMATA’s “Keeping Metro Safe, Reliable, and Affordable” plan. Learn more.
- Amended DDOT’s portion of the FY2017-2022 TIP. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) asked that the board amend the six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to reflect updated project descriptions and adjustments to funding levels. Learn more.
Other items of note:
- Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Chairman Jeremy Martin reported on the committee’s deliberations regarding the to the Long-Range Plan Task Force. A poll of CAC members was conducted of their opinions of the list of bundles which was submitted to the TPB and the task force. Listen to the full CAC report.
- During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, the Coalition for Smarter Growth’s Stewart Schwartz spoke about the importance of including land-use issues in the public outreach for Visualize 2045, the TPB’s new long-range plan. Listen to his comments.