Member Briefing: December 17, 2021

Here is a brief weekly update from the RTA business coalition – the voice of the regional business community on transportation.

RTA offers support for MPO vision plans
Our RTA regional leadership team had an excellent discussion at our quarterly Regional Leadership Team meeting earlier this month about proposed long-range metropolitan transportation plans, including significant potential changes that I wrote about in a prior blog. I applaud each of our Leadership Team members, including several focus area chairs who discussed the plans during an online dialogue in advance of the meeting, for their focus on the opportunities these future visions afford our extended region.

Last week we provided supportive comments to both the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Capital Area metropolitan planning organizations about the plans. Both of our area MPOs approved their respective, complementary plans on Wednesday of last week. I am optimistic that these vision plans will lead to the funding and deployment of accelerated, enhanced multimodal solutions for our market – including those in the next blurb.

Our enhanced transit network could get even larger
The MPO regional transit plans include several elements of a future metropolitan rapid transit system, including a northwest-to-southeast regional commuter rail spine that will connect the cities of Durham and Raleigh and nearby communities, along with 50+ miles of bus rapid transit across seven BRT corridors and extensions in Wake, Orange, eastern Durham, and western Johnston counties. All 7 BRT corridors and extensions will open this decade, with the regional commuter rail slated to open around 2030.

The vision plans also include 3 additional BRT corridors in Durham and eastern Orange counties, which would link Durham, Chapel Hill, and Research Triangle Park and result in 90+ miles of interconnected regional BRT. The regional transit vision plans could create 100+ miles of BRT across 10+ corridors – including additional extensions and linkages in Cary, Raleigh, and Knightdale – as well as a southwest-to-northeast commuter rail corridor from Apex to Franklin County. The regional business community will look to make this vision an accelerated reality.

RDU will bridge two continents
This week, RDU announced its newest international flight, and its newest airline:  Icelandair and its new nonstop service from Raleigh-Durham to Reykjavik, beginning this spring. As I mentioned to the Triangle Business Journal, the flight creates a new way to get to mainland Europe, and it does so while the airline industry is still in pandemic recovery mode. The central Atlantic geographic location of Iceland as literally the bridge between two continents will make it a compelling one stop alternative to consider. More in this week’s blog.

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director


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