Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council

Director’s Message — January 2014

The Regional Transportation Council turns a new corner in January 2014 with the introduction of a major overhaul of the agency’s website for our members and the community.

Updated communication platform

Welcome to RTC’s new website, our “storefront” to the community. In today’s information age, easy access to relevant and current information is paramount. More robust content, intuitive navigation, and mobile platform accessible are the priorities of this current update. Consider this a generation-one release with additional functionality and user resources and interactivity to be released into the future.

2014 work efforts

Among the RTC’s most prominent work efforts of 2014 will be a periodic review and update to the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County (RTP). The RTP represents a synthesis of the region’s long term transportation strategy. For the next 10-20 years, two forces will prominently affect the mobility of our community: population growth and limited investment resources. 20-year growth projections forecast a 30% increase in countywide population and expanding employment base. Our ability to accommodate this growth and maintain and invest in our transportation infrastructure hangs in the balance. The current RTP identifies a need for over $2.8 billion in new investment and hundreds of millions in maintenance is needed to preserve the functionality of prior investments. Current data clearly states that maintenance and investment needs currently outstrip resource availability. Without incremental and thoughtful action, future resources will be diverted from growth inducing investments to simply correcting poorly maintained and failed infrastructure. Identifying new resources which allow for incremental investment and sustained maintenance is the prosperous path forward.

Federal and State transportation bills / packages

At both State and Federal levels of government, major transportation funding and policy bills are under debate. At the state level, the recent Connecting Washington Task Force recommends $21 Billion dollars of investment across the state for cities, counties, transit and state highways. The State Legislature is currently evaluating transportation investment bills. At the federal level, increasing funding to maintain our nation’s highways and bridges is on the docket. In both conversations, the question of raising and or reforming the gas tax to create revenue is central to the debate. Action on meaningful policy reforms and revenue increases remains elusive. However, as an optimist, I am encouraged that the debate is ongoing compared to silence.

Economic Expansion

Well-reasoned investment planning is dependent upon solid research and analytics combined with a good sense of the community vision. Given limited government funding for new investments, concerted and coordinated planning among regional governments and non-profit agencies is paramount in order to focus the limited investment resources for maximum return. Fortunately our region has several organizations focused specifically on economic development, including our Ports, economic development associations, Chambers of Commerce, and civic advocacy groups. Working together on research, planning, and prioritizing investment strategies, the RTC and partners can continue to advance our region towards a more prosperous future…

I look for continued engagement with member agencies and the community on our important growth and transportation infrastructure investment projects. Let the RTC be a resource to the community, and contact us with questions related to the long term investment strategy for our regional transportation systems.

Matt Ransom
Executive Director

January 28, 2014 ⋅ PermaLinkArchive