“Time to Get Real”
To National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board
April 16, 2008
Question: What Does the Recent Value Pricing Study Have in Common with Other Recent TPB Studies?
Answer: It Studies Scenarios that Are Highly Unrealistic and Unlikely to Happen.
Just as with so many regional mobility and accessibility studies involving “what if” scenarios such as 200,000 living outside the region moved into apartments near Metro Stations and what if 80,000 jobs in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties moved to Prince George’s County etc., the likelihood of every major highway and bridge in the region being tolled (or that anyone could afford to use such a system) is approximately zero.
Still the TPB studies such scenarios because it can and perhaps because it beats studying solutions based on how people are most likely to live and travel in the future.
Eight years into what was envisioned as an 18-month Regional Mobility and Accessibility Study, this body has yet to test scenarios involving a single new road, parkway or
In eight years the TPB has yet to ask transportation professionals in this region what THEY would do, or recommend as the most effective transportation solutions.
Sadly, our transportation professionals are the last folks consulted. After all, what could they possibly know? Instead, the region continues to pursue politically directed studies and solutions, only to blame the professionals when congestion gets worse.
This region has the nation’s fourth largest economy. The notion that we lack resources to build an efficient transportation network is nonsense. Political will perhaps, but not resources.
However, it is almost a certainty that failing to muster the political will to even study the transportation network we need most certainly will ensure the region’s economy shrinks and falls in the ranking. Eliminating tens of thousands of jobs is one way to reduce congestion.
Consider this; the Nation’s Capital Region has no transportation priorities. It has long lists of projects, but no clearly defined short-list of strategic priorities for the simple reason that it lacks to will to compile such a list. Perhaps because some would rather not know
One thing’s for certain and that is as long as this region pursues unrealistic transportation scenarios; it is unrealistic to expect that traffic congestion will get anything but worse.