Tag: TPB

CSG Testimony: TPB Vote on Capital Beltway/I-270 & Long-Range Transportation Plan

CSG Testimony: TPB Vote on Capital Beltway/I-270 & Long-Range Transportation Plan

July 20, 2021

Hon. Charles Allen
Chair, National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board

Re: TPB Vote on Capital Beltway/I-270 and the Long-Range Transportation Plan

Chair Allen and members of the TPB:

I will keep our comments short:

  1. Governor Hogan and MDOT have:
    • Completely failed to objectively study alternatives to the toll lanes
    • Put the P3 negotiations and contracts ahead of completion of the EIS, and biased the entire process for private toll lanes.
    • Run a scorched-earth political campaign which demonstrates their bias.
  2. The toll lane deals for 495Next in Virginia and for Maryland not only lack the commitment to transit funding we need, the non-compete provisions appear to prevent future Metrorail at the American Legion Bridge and other transit investments.
  3. Climate change is an existential threat. Contrary to MDOT arguments, highway expansion increases driving and CO2 emissions. It is astounding to see massive highway expansion proposed while the Arctic and Antarctic melts, the West burns, Europe floods, and shellfish cooks on the beaches of Canada.
  4. The toll lanes would reinforce the East-West economic divide in our region condemning Prince George’s commuters to either paying very high tolls or sitting in the general-purpose lane traffic that the toll road companies depend on to generate their profits.
  5. A far better alternative is Maryland investment in transit-oriented development on the east side of the region, which would increase jobs, shorten commutes, even out the flows on the Beltway and Metrorail, and help address the E-W economic and racial divide.

Therefore, we urge you to stand by your vote to remove the toll lanes from the TPB’s long range plan and honestly to take the same step for the 495Next project – in order to force objective consideration of alternatives, the climate impacts, and the development of the most sustainable and effective alternative with the least impact on parks and communities.

We are running out of time on the climate and are failing to do what needs to be done to address the E-W economic and racial divide. We need your leadership.

Thank you,

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director

Testimony: TPB Draft CLRP and Resolution by TPB Board Member Evan Glass

Testimony: TPB Draft CLRP and Resolution by TPB Board Member Evan Glass

June 15, 2021 

Hon. Charles Allen 
Chair, National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board 

Re: TPB Draft CLRP and Resolution by TPB Board Member Evan Glass 

Chair Allen and members of the TPB: 

We hope you all agree that climate change is an existential threat. You also know that transportation is our number one source of emissions and that electrical vehicles will not be enough to get us to the COG and national goals of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. The last CLRP (2018) is only estimated to reduce CO2 by 23%  by 2045, 

In the COG scientific and statistically significant Voices of the Region Survey, 84% of the region’s residents  indicated they want elected officials to prioritize climate change in transportation plans. Public comment on  Visualize 2045 has overwhelmingly supported a plan that addresses climate change. 

Therefore, we urge you to address the issues raised in Councilmember Glass’ resolution and by many other  members of the TPB seeking a CLRP that more effectively addresses climate change. At a minimum, we urge you in  adopting the draft CLRP for air conformity modeling, to concurrently commit to the TPB to adopting a new CLRP by  2024 that meets COG’s climate goals. This includes conducting a rigorous initial climate strategy analysis this year  (not just an academic exercise) and beginning immediately in 2022, developing the next CLRP by 2024. 

We are running out of time. We need your leadership. 

Thank you. 

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director

Bill Pugh 
Senior Policy Fellow

Testimony to TPB re Climate & Visualize 2045

May 19, 2021 

Dear Chair Allen and TPB Board members: 

You have the opportunity to create a better Visualize 2045, not next time, but now. The region’s  residents and future generations are counting on you, and climate science says that we can’t delay  anymore. At last week’s COG Board meeting, TPB Director Kanti Srikanth said in regard to climate  change and Visualize 2045 that “Every option needs to be pursued as expeditiously as possible to  attain our 2030 goal.” We agree.  

193 of the 199 public comments submitted to TPB ask for sustainable and equitable transportation  investments that prioritize non-auto modes, including land use and demand management strategies.  This is consistent with the COG Voices of the Region survey. 

Please note these two key findings in today’s presentation on TPB’s Climate Change Study Phase 1  Report: 

“At the regional and local levels, the studies show that land use policies that bring housing  and jobs closer together and closer to transit reduce both GHG emissions and vehicle travel.  Travel demand policies such as teleworking are also effective at reducing GHG emissions and  vehicle travel and are also cost-effective.” and that “In contrast to most of the vehicle-related  strategies, many of these policy actions can be implemented in a shorter timeframe  contributing to critical near-term GHG reductions.”  

– The memo notes the promise of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), and we agree.  However, the TCI Program will only reduce on-road emissions by 7% by 2032. TCI clearly states  that substantial reductions depend on jurisdictions, including MPO’s like TPB, adopting  “complementary policies.”  

Given Director Srikanth’s statement that every option needs to be expeditiously pursued, we are  stunned by the staff response to the public comments — that the proposed project list with $40 billion in  highway and road expansion projects is generally consistent with and advances TPB’s climate and equity  goals, and that it is not as relevant to regional climate efforts. 

That is simply not possible. Road expansion fuels more driving and spread out development and diverts  billions of dollars from investing in transit and TOD to reduce emissions and address the region’s racial  and economic inequity. 

TPB’s own studies show we can avoid much proposed highway expansion if the region adopts effective  travel and greenhouse gas reduction strategies, which are travel demand and land use policies that  focus jobs and housing in walkable areas near transit, and expanding transit investments. 

Thank you. 

Stewart Schwartz Bill Pugh 

Executive Director Senior Policy Fellow

Sign-On Letter to Transportation Planning Board on Cutting Carbon Emissions

The undersigned organizations call on the National Capital Transportation Planning Board (TPB) to strengthen the resolution before it to affirm COG’s accepted long range CO2 target of 80% reductions by 2050 in two ways: 1) Include a deadline of September 30, 2015 to complete committee work and the final report in time to inform the next CLRP process