New Long-Range Transportation Plan Approved for Washington D.C. region

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board within the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments approved a new long-range transportation plan for the area surrounding the nation’s capital, dubbed Visualize 2045, by a vote of 29 to 2 on Oct. 17.

[Above photo of Metrorail subway by VDOT.]

The group said the new plan consists of more than 600 highway and transit projects totaling $291 billion that the region expects to fund over the next 27 or so years, with new major additions to that road map including:

Metrorail photo by VDOT
  • In Maryland, managed toll lanes on I-495 and I-270 and widening of US 301, MD 201, and MD 97.
  • In Montgomery County, MD, five additional segments to its Bus Rapid Transit network.
  • In Virginia, widening of US 15 while changing both the completion date and the number of High Occupancy Toll lanes in each direction on the northern portion of I-495.
  • In the District of Columbia, adding six additional segments to its bicycle lane network.
  • For the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, adding capacity to the Metrorail subway system, such as by operating 100 percent 8-car trains during peak periods.

The board added in a statement that, during discussions before adopting the new plan, some local Maryland jurisdictions “expressed concerns” about the impact of the I-495 and I-270 managed toll lanes project on their communities.

However, those issues were addressed by the Maryland Department of Transportation, the broad said.

Bike commuters by VDOT

It also noted that the new long-range plan now includes a set of seven “aspirational initiatives” designed to help “potentially address” some of the region’s biggest transportation challenges in the future, including:

  • Bringing jobs and housing closer together.
  • Expanding bus rapid transit and transit ways.
  • Moving more people via the Metrorail subway system.
  • Increasing telecommuting and other commuting options.
  • Expanding the express highway network.
  • Improving pedestrian and bike access to transit services.
  • Completing the region’s 60-mile long National Capital Trail bicycle “beltway.”
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