2021 Capital Region Transportation Forum

On December 13, 2021, we held our last major event of the year – The Capital Region Transportation Forum.  The Board of Trade and the Greater Washington Partnership co-hosted the virtual meeting of 200 attendees that featured Secretary Shannon Valentine of the Virginia Department of Transportation, Acting Director Everett Lott of the District Department of Transportation, and Secretary Gregory Slater of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

How do we plan for the future of mobility in our area?  The Greater Washington region is expecting an increase of population of more than 1.5 million people by the year 2045 along with an increase of 1 million additional jobs by then.  What kinds of projects, specifically infrastructure and transportation, will need to be in place to cope with this expanded population?

As we all know, Congress and the President passed and signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure investments and jobs act into law last month and we took this opportunity to talk to the regions’ government leaders in transportation to see how the new funds will affect transportation projects in the greater Washington, DC area.  Virginia is slated to receive $9.9 billion in federal funding while Maryland and the District of Columbia will each receive $7.2 billion and $2.8 billion respectively.  The new bill also earmarked $150 million annually for Metro through the year 2030.

Director Lott laid out plans specifically that will accelerate the District’s asset management program and address bus lane and cycle lane infrastructure expansion through dedicated lanes, bus stop shelters, and accessibility issues specifically through these projects: Cross-Town Cycle Track, 14th street NW bus corridor, MLK Southeast bus corridor, Minnesota Ave SE bus corridor, K Street Transit project, M Street Southeast, H street and I street bus corridors, and Pennsylvania Ave SE transit corridor.

Virginia will also be accelerating their asset management program to bring much needed maintenance and repairs to the 130,000 miles of roadway and 22,000 bridges.  More locally, there is dedicated funding set aside for Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak to expand regionally as well as the Construction of a new Long Bridge, the freight rail bridge connecting Virginia and DC, helping to alleviate congestion issues and separating rail and freight lines from DC south to Richmond. There will also be a new pedestrian/cycling bridge adjacent to the new Long Bridge creating a safe riding and walking experience across the Potomac.

Maryland laid out some very lofty projects in our area that included the construction of the Purple Line, I-270 beltway, the Frederick Douglas Tunnel for Amtrak reducing more than 7 hours of delays per week, and the Howard Street tunnel to expand the Port of Baltimore’s ability to transport cargo via rail instead of trucks.  In addition, Maryland has a $7 billion backlog of state of good repair for roads, bridges, ports and airports so these dollars will help accelerate maintenance and repairs.

With the passing of the infrastructure law, there are many opportunities for investment into our region’s transportation and infrastructure. Taking a collaborative approach will only benefit the outcomes of current and new projects and positively impact individuals who travel and work in the DMV.

We would like to thank our presenting sponsor Northeast Maglev, community sponsors Transurban and WSP, and supporting sponsors AON, HNTB and AECOM, as well as our moderator, Robert McCartney, former Washington Post editor and columnist, current host of the ‘Think Regionally’ podcast for Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

If you missed the event, watch the full recording here.