The TPB gained a new member jurisdiction in May as the City of Laurel, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, officially joined both the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the TPB. Laurel was already technically part of the TPB’s planning area as part of Prince George’s County but now has its own vote on the board as well as as representatives on the TPB’s numerous committees and subcommittees. That means that the city will be able to take part in the regional transportation planning process which, among other things, involves developing the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-range Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
Membership on the TPB will also provide Laurel with benefits beyond being part of the regional planning process. The city will now have more direct access to TPB data and analysis, including data on regional traffic and travel trends. It will also be eligible to apply for free technical assistance under the TPB’s Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program, get capital funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects through the Transportation Alternatives Program, or get grants for initiatives aimed at enhancing mobility for older adults and persons with disabilities. Laurel has always had access to these programs through Prince George’s County, but will now be eligible to apply for these programs on its own behalf.
The City of Laurel is located in northern Prince George’s County between the District of Columbia and Baltimore. Laurel is home to more than 25,000 residents and more than 1,000 businesses. The city joined COG and TPB because it saw the value in coordinating with other jurisdictions in the region and understanding and better connecting with the region as a whole.
Laurel enjoys numerous multimodal connections to the rest of the region. The city has a stop on MARC’s Camden Line and is served by Central Maryland Regional Transportation Agency buses and Metrobuses. It is also home to bike trails and is located near I-95.
It’s been a few years since the last time the TPB expanded its membership. In 2014, the TPB added Fauquier County, Virginia, as a new member, after a small portion of the county was added to the TPB’s official planning area following the 2010 Census. In all, the TPB has 44 members representing 23 jurisdictions and numerous other local, state, regional, and federal agencies.