Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to December 2001 DC Voter
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL
|Who Initiates Plans?||DC Transportation Office* elicits proposals from citizens. Federal interests must be taken into account||State Highway Administration (SHA), local staff, county or MDOT||Begin at the local level|
|Who Okays Designs, Plans||DC Transportation Office*, Mayor's Office, USDOT (historical concerns)||MD Dept of Transportation (MDOT) & SHA. Must be in Contrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP). County Councils||VDOT plans, builds, and maintains all state highways. Has 10000 staff. Supervised by Commonwealth Transportation Bd., 17 members, 9 from districts, 3 at-large, plus input from state|
|Must the Project be in the Local Master Plan?||Yes||Yes||Local Comprehensive Plan. But poor coordination with land use planning. Little citizen input. VDOT imposes its priorities, not those of communities.|
|Who Finances Planning?||DC Planning Office||MDOT||Local and MDOT|
|Who Produces the Design?||DC Planning Office||MDOT||Local, VDOT, CTB|
|Who Funds Construction?||Largely federal funds, through DC Planning Office||Major facilities state/federal. Counties, state, developers||All funding decisions state VA Transportation Devlt Plan. Money from gas tax|
|What's the Major Problem?||DC Budget is US law. Congress has line item veto. Many local concerns, esp. large trucks and bad truck drivers, pot holes.||Lack of money. Adequate only for maintenance||Coordination between land use plans (local) and transportation plans (state).|
|What Regional Planning Groups Must Approve?||TPB||Transportation Plannign Bd of Council of Governments (TPB) for federal agencies that fund; FHWA||FHWA, TPB|
*The DC Transportation Office is currently a division of the DC Dept. of Public Works, but is expected to be a separate office by October 2001. Note that DC functions both as a state and also as a local jurisdiction, so that many of the questions asked of local jurisdictions also apply to DC.
|Who Initiatives Plans?||DC Transportation Office elicits proposals from citizens. WMATA, DC Transportation and Public Space Policy Div. has Strategic Transportation Plan (6-yr and 20-yr) focuses on what transportation should be.||Maryland Transit Authority (MTA). Comprehensive Transit Plan includes MTA (MARC commuter trains, Baltimore METRO), WMATA and 24 local||Since 1992 Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation, 10 staff for local. Highways and mass transit are separate. TCC developed 2020 Plan to identify bus, rail transit, road and other transport needs. WMATA.|
|Who Okays Plans||DC Transportation Office, Mayor's Office, appropriate federal agencies (historical preservation). DC Transportation and Public Space Policy Div.||MTA and MDOT. Must be in CLRP.||TCC, primary coordinating group for transportation. TPB.|
|Must the Project be in the Local Master Plan?||Yes, except for small deviations and some existing conditions. Most of DC's riders are on bus rather than rail.||Capital facilities||Yes, but land use planning and transportation delivery are poorly coordinated.|
|Who Finances Planning?||DC government through its budgetary process||MDOT receives most money from Federal Mass Transit Admin.||Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation, TCC, local, WMATA|
|Who Produces the Design?||WMATA with DC Office of Mass Transit||MDOT||Dept. of Rail & Public Transportation, TCC, WMATA|
|Who Funds Construction?||Mostly federal, WMATA, WMATA's lines criss-cross DC. Red and Green lines are U-shaped; Blue and Orange cross from VA to Prince Georges.||Mostly federal||NVTC allocates money from state, regional, and federal. Levies 2% gas tax for public transit. VA arm of WMATA|
|What's the Mayor Problem?||DC budget is US law. Congress has line item veto. Better coordination is needed connecting residents with METRO stations. Identified funding for next 25 yrs $15 billion but only $11 billion available.||Lack of money||Fragmentation of decisionmaking. NVTA created in 2001 to answer this problem|
|What Regional Planning Groups Must Approve?||Congress, TPB, EPA, FHWA||TPB, FHWA, EPA||TPB, FHWA, EPA|
|METRO — How many lines? Stops? Other rail?||WMATA — How many bus lines?||Local Lines?||More Mass Transit Planned?||Interest Groups? (Some but not all)||Land Use Plans Integrated with Transit Plans?|
|Alexandria City, VA||2 - Blue, Yellow, 4 stops|
|Arlington County, VA||2 - Orange, Blue, 9 stops. State VRE, 1 stop||Provides major bus service||Private shuttles, ride-sharing, ADA paratransit, small buses; ART in Crystal City||Expand Metro bus service, ART, WMATA light rail and bus hookups. Must be in TIP and 2020 plans||Represent wide range - developers, housing advocates, smart growth, civic assn's. ARlington Way||Yes in theory but not in practice. Must be part of NoVa 2020 Plan.|
|Fairfax County, VA||3 - Orange, Blue, Yellow, 8 stops (incl "Falls Church") State VRE has 2 commuter rails, 5 stops||Numerous WMATA buses connect to METRO. Includes TAGS in Springfield.||The Fairfax Connector has 156 buses, 60 routes, subsidized fares. FASTRAN for human services.||METRO to Tysons. Rail or high speed bus to Dulles; regional bus? 2020 Plan for light/heavy rail.||Citizen requests. Home Owners Assns. Chamber of Commerce (Negative). Developers.||State - land use planning. County - transit planning. New emphasis on transit-oriented development.|
|Falls Church City, VA||None. No seat on WMATA Board.||Only WMATA buses, 2 lines.||None||Soon-to-be established electric bus service||CACT; City InterDisciplin. Trans. Team; Ch. of Commerce; VPIS||Yes. But not enough citizen input or interest|
|Loudoun County, VA||None||None||None||None||Public influence||County has attempted some|
|Frederick County, MD||None||None||Some||?|
|Howard County, MD||No METRO. 1 MARC line, 3 stops.||5 communter bus lines operated by MTA.||6 Howard Transit bus lines. Paratransit.||No rail plans. (1 MARC line) Buses planned, plus better integration among modes||Chamber of Commerce. Public Transportation Advocates. Developers||No. Transit follows land use plans|
|Montgomery County, MD||2 Red lines, 12 stops. Contribution to Metro funded by state from USDOT. MARC 4 stops||Backbone routes||Feeder routes, Rid-On operated by DPWT||Some in Master Plans (must be). Shady Grove, Georgetown Branch. No designs or construction.||Action Committee for Transit (Purple Line). County solicitous of Citizens Assns. Developers||No. Bike and pedestrian facilities are mostly federal money.|
|Prince Georges County, MD||4 lines - Green (2), Orange, Blue. 16 stops. 2 MARC lines, 7 stations||73 Metrobus routes||Local bus, TheBus, with 18 routes||Yes. Blue line will be extended to Large. 13 more TheBus routes in FY02`||LWV, Sierra Club, many civic and community assns.||Yes. Smart growth techniques are being implemented by professionals.|
1. How many Bus Lines are there within the District of Columbia?
2. Are there local routes operating within the District?
Answer: There are two privately operated Georgetown Shuttle Routs transporting Passengers between Rosslyn and Dupont Circle as well as Foggy Bottom and Georgetown.
3. Is More Transit Planned in the District?
The District Government and WMATA are working to construct a new rail station on the Red Line at New York Avenue and Florida Avenue.
There are several efforts underway that are examining new Transit Projects for the District. These efforts include an examination of new Metrorail lines, new Light Rail Transit lines, and expanded bus services to include enhanced local bus service, new express and Rapid Bus Transit lines and new Downtown and Neighborhood Circulator Bus Services.
4. Who are some of the key Interest Groups?
Answer: There are a number of interest groups involved in transit development and transit projects in the City. There number includes Business Improvement Districts, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, the Developer Community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Federal City Council and many more.
5. Are Land Use Plans Integrated with Transit Plans?
Answer: WMATA is working with the District Division of Transportation within the Department of Public Works and District's Offce of Planning on the local side and the National Capital Planning Commission on the federal side to make sure the Land Use and Transit Plans are integrated.
Virginia — Dillon Rule State (1 of 4): overriding authority over localities, constrains all but zoning. Maryland — Home Rule State, 3 levels of authority for localities: Charter — document approved by voters; Code — no written charter, some local authority; Commissioner — little power, delegation to state assembly checks. DC closely supervised by Congress. Congress can veto any DC law.
|Forms of Government||Composition||Elections|
|District of Columbia||Mayor, Council, Congress a player||13-member Council - 1 chair, 8 from 8 wards, 4 at-large||All elected by citizens. Council members elected every 2 yrs. Council chair, mayor elected every 4 yrs. No term limits.|
|Commonwealth of Virginia||Gov.,k bicameral Gen. Assembly. Only 3 state officials elected, Gov., Lt. Gov., and Atty. Gen. Gov. one of country's most powerful thru app'tment power.||Senate - 40 members; House of Delegate - 100 members||Gov., Lt. Gov. elected every 4 yrs. off yrs from Gen. ASsembly, 4-yr terms, Gov. not consecutive. SEnate elected every 4 yrs House every 2 yrs. No limits|
|State of Maryland||Bicameral legislature. Governor, Lt. Governor||47 districts each with 1 senator and 3 delegates (47 Senate, 141 House of Delegates)||Senate and House 4-yr terms. No term limits. Gov. and Lt. Gov 4-yr terms with 8-yr limit. All elected at non-Presidential Congressional election|
|Alexandria City, VA||Mayor, City Council, City Mgr||Council - 6 at-large members, 3-yr terms, no term limits. City Mgr appointed by Council||Mayor, Council all elected every 3 yrs.|
|Arlington County, VA||County Board (weak), County Mgr. (strong)||Board - 5 at-large members, 4-yr terms, no term limits. City Mgr appointed by Board||Every yr 1 seat is up for election, 2nd seat every 4th yr|
|Fairfax County, VA.||Board of Supervisors (BOS) both executive and legislative Dept. of Transportation reports to County Executive||9 supervisors, all by district, Chair at-large; 4-yr terms, no term limits. County Exec is hired, not elected||Board Chair elected. Every 4 yrs every seat is up for election|
|Falls Church City, VA||Mayor (weak), City Council, Cty Mgr., 4 general managers||Council - 7 at-large members, 4-yr terms, no term limits. Mayor elected by Council from members. City Mgr hired by Council||Council temrs staggered, 4 seats at one election, followed 2 yrs later by 3 setas.|
|Loudoun County, VA||Board of Supervisors; County Administrator; 4 assistant county administrators||1 supervisor from each of 8 magisterial districts set by Board; chairman elected at-large; 4-yr terms; no limits||4-yr terms|
|Frederick County, MD||Commissioner, County Board. Dept. heads report directed to Board.||Board - 5 at-large members, 4-yr terms, no term limits. Commis. apptd by Board (weak)||All seats open for election every 4 yrs.|
|Howard County, MD||Charter County, Elected County Executive, County Council||5-member Council, elected by district||Elected every four years. Two-term limit on County Executive; 3-term limit on Council members.|
|Montgomery County, MD||Charter. Elected County Executive, County Council with complete control over planning||Council: 4 members at-large, 5 members elected by district||Executive and Council elected every 4 years. No term limits.|
|Prince Georges County, MD||Charter. Elected County Executive, County Council||9-member Council elected by district||All seats vacant every 4 yrs. Terms 4 yrs. Council 2-term limited. Exec. only 2 consecutive terms.|
Access to Transportation: LWVUS believes that energy-efficient and environmentally sound transportation systems should afford better access to housing and jobs and will continue to examine transportation policies in light of these goals.
2. Priorities in transportation services and planning should include:
3. We support public participation and supervision in determining information needed and in evaluating transportation proposals, transportation planning, and operations. Public involvement and decision-making should include:
4. We support financial measures that include:
5. We support the integration of transportation and land-use planning on local and regional levels (1997).
In addition, LWVNCA has positions on Airports and Beltway Safety.
CACT - Cit. Adv. Comm. for Transportation
C1P - Capital Improvements Program
CLRP - Constrained Long Range Plan
COG - Metro. Wash. Council of Govts
CTB - Commonwealth Transportation Board
CTP -Consolidated Transportation Prog
DPW - Dept. Pub. Works
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
FHWA - Fed. Hwy Adm
MDOT - Maryland Dept. of Transportation
MNCPPC - MD National Capital Planning Comm.
MTA - MD Transit Adm.
MPO - Metropolitan Planning Organization
NCPC - National Capital Planning Commission
NVTA - Northern VA Transportation Auth.
NVTC - Northern VA Transportation Comm.
SHA - (MD) State Highway Admin.
TCC - No. VA Transportation Coordinating Council
TIP - Transportation Improvement Plan
TPB - COG Transportation Planning Bd
USDOT - Federal Dept of Transportation
VDOT - Virginia Dept. of Transportation
VPIS - Village Preserv. & Improve't Soc.
VRE - VA Rwy Express
WMATA - Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
The Washington, DC, area has been judged the second most congested region in the nation. Only Los Angeles exceeds Washington in time for a commuter spent in slow traffic. What a waste of human energy! With three independent jurisdictions, each with very different processes and points of view, how can we come together with a plan to ease transportation?
Our interviews have attempted to find out:
What is the role of local decision making?
How do local decisions tie in with the states?
How do the states tie .in with their Departments of Transportation, US agencies, the other counties and their sister states?
How do the regional agencies, i.e., WMATA and the TPB, affect decision-making?
What is the role of USDOT both as funder and as policymaker? (Federal funding of road and transit construction is dependent on laws that require extensive studies, procedures, and limitations. The location approval process takes years of hearings and studies..)
To paraphrase Pogo, "the enemy is us." We have more vehicular trips per household, all in different directions each morning, and longer distances per trip. A single family home and privacy remains the American dream; sprawl continues. Sales increase for SUVs with exemption from emission standards and poor gas mileage. We can't even talk about options for crossing the Potomac as battle lines are drawn before the facts or those options are known. If a governor scratches a road such as the Inter-County Connector or a congressman gives up the Techway in Virginia, the proponents just wait for the next election to support the project anew. Every jurisdiction claims they have no money. We have "constrained" transportation plans.
How much bad air and traffic congestion can we stand?
When does an individual sacrifice his right to do as he pleases for the good of the community?
Do we have a workable regional transportation plan for the future?
Have we agreed on highways or mass transit as the way out of congestion?
Or what combination?
What percentage of transportation funds should be expended on each?
Why is every project considered separately?
Why is the big fight between growth and no growth?
But is transportation a public responsibility? It hasn't always been. Toll roads dominated the revolutionary period. Canals were transportation projects of private companies. Railroads were developed privately with some government help in obtaining rights-of-way. Cities were served by private bus companies. (Remember O. Roy Chalk and the "rancid transit system?") The federal Interstate Highway System was justified by defense arguments during the cold war. Where are we today? LWV/NCA positions call for funding transportation through a sales tax; it assumes government is responsible. Are we talking about how to pay for it? Have we as a region agreed on what "it" is? Who pays? The feds? The states and the District? The locals?
THIS FACT SHEET PREPARED BY THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AREA, JULY 2001. FOR PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE OR TO LEARN OF CORRECTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL BETH COGSWELL, firstname.lastname@example.org, OR GRANT REYNOLDS, email@example.com.