This Wednesday, July 19, the COG Transportation Planning Board (TPB), will finalize the list of projects in their long-term study (details below). The public is invited to testify and your input is crucial, either in person or via email (using the button below).
What TPB is voting on
In light of studies showing our current long-range plans do not have enough capacity to handle future travel needs for our region, and if we don’t add major new transit and road capacity, congestion gets much worse, TPB is studying 10 major projects to see what impacts they would have, including two projects SMTA has long supported (because previous studies show they would be highly effective):
- Regional Express Travel Network * Express toll lanes network (free to HOV and transit) with added lanes where feasible on existing limited access highways (including remaining portion of the Capital Beltway, I-270, Dulles Toll Road, U.S. 50); includes expanded American Legion Bridge.
- Additional Northern Bridge Crossing / Corridor * New northern bridge crossing of Potomac River, as a multimodal corridor
Key Talking Points
We are urging TPB to support of the resolution as drafted by TPB staff and their Long-Range Planning Task Force. The key issue is whether or not remove any reference to new bridge crossings in this long-term study.
- The only purpose of TPB Long-Range Planning Task Force was to look at major new projects like a new bridge, that are not in current plans. To take this out would be to abdicate TPB’s core responsibility to make sure the region has the facts and has looked at all options.
- There are several potential bridge routes that have NO impact on the Agricultural Reserve that should be studied – we won’t know if this is viable or not until we look at the facts
- Both I-270 express lanes AND a bridge are crucial – it’s not one or the other – and since I-270 is already in the plan, the only question is to study a bridge crossing or not
- Previous studies show a new bridge could divert from 40,000 to 105,000 trips a day OFF the American Legion Bridge, which is by far the region’s worst traffic choke point. How could TPB justify a long-term study that did not include this?
- A new bridge could save commuters 67,000 hours per day
- Why are bridge opponents so afraid of a study? Regional leaders need to ask them why they don’t want the public to have the facts.
How to testify
- In Person: Show up at the Council of Governments between 11:15 and 11:30am, Wednesday, July 19th (you need to be there early to sign up, just ask for the public comment list. Each speaker gets 3 minutes and several of us will be there to assist you). The office is walking distance from Union Station and there is plenty of parking in nearby garages. Here is the address: 777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20002
- Written Comments: If you are sending comments, it is preferable to send them via this form/link or by email at least the day before and the staff will distribute them to the TPB members. TRY TO DO THIS TODAY. Your comments do not have to be long, but use any of the talking points above, or your own words to clearly state why the region needs to study all options for traffic relief.