Robert Thomson details the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, as recently approved by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The plan focuses on “fixing the road and rail systems we already have” by planning transportation regionally, rather than by jurisdiction or by travel mode.
The plan addresses three primary goals: 1) Meet existing obligations, 2) Strengthen public confidence, and 3) Move more people, more efficiently.
But whether the plan proves fruitful will depend on later planning processes. Thomson also describes important distinctions that will determine the level of influence the plan can have in influencing the D.C. area’s future transportation investments: “The Washington region doesn’t have a central authority that tells localities what to spend on which transportation projects. The priorities plan doesn’t affect the underlying structure of local planning.” Thomson adds, “The power of the Transportation Planning Board lies in the legal need for the jurisdictions to incorporate their projects into the region’s Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan.”