Issues related to transportation involve all aspects of a multi-modal transportation system, including financial constraint, regional growth and system performance, air quality, sustainable development, safety and security, congestion management, regional rail, the roadway system, freight and aviation, and the environment.
A major challenge facing the region is a lack of funds to build and maintain an effective transportation system. The state and federal gas taxes have remained unchanged for over a decade, and high gas prices have contributed to unwillingness among politicians to increase them. Plans are underway to develop a new long-range transportation plan, Mobility 2035. However, the financial crisis has affected transportation funding. Mobility 2035 will provide recommendations for an expanded 12-county planning area, but with limited state and federal funds coming in to the region, we can expect fewer roadway and rail improvements.
With respect to regional growth and system performance, the cost of congestion is expected to increase significantly as the region’s population swells to more than 8.5 million by 2030. The following performance measures, based on the current long-range plan, Mobility 2030 – 2009 Amendment, indicate some of the expected changes:
- Congestion will Cost the region $6.5 Billion in travel delays in 2030
- From 1999 to 2009, vehicle miles traveled increased 30 percent
- During that same period, signal and congestion delay time increased 44 percent