Member Briefing: November 4

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

Orange County Transit Plan Update Receives Approval
The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new transit plan in Orange County. The plan speaks to several values, including equity, environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, affordable and attainable quality of life and transportation access for all. The plan incorporates new and enhanced bus service, selected capital improvements, and expanded mobility on demand. It also lays the groundwork for the activation of the North South BRT corridor in Chapel Hill later this decade. More information here.

We are pleased to see the new Orange County transit plan move forward, and we are hopeful that the DCHC MPO and the GoTriangle Board of Trustees will offer concurrent approvals in the near future. RTA will seek to augment the proposed investments in this plan with an accelerated Freeway And Street-based Transit (FAST) implementation program to better link southeastern Orange County with the rest of the extended Triangle.


Regional transit discussions continue
GoTriangle chair Sig Hutchinson and GoTriangle CEO Chuck Lattuca addressed the RTA Regional Leadership Team earlier today. They spoke of the status, benefits, challenges, and opportunities for advancing regional/commuter rail, along with the process of reviewing various rail options early next year, and the excellent partnerships that are already in place to move passenger rail forward.

RTA supports the accelerated implementation of regional/commuter rail, and is seeking a flexible, scalable, and regional solution to purposefully develop our passenger rail infrastructure. RTA will also coordinate an effort to advance, implement, and institutionalize a FAST framework for our metropolitan area. You can download a letter which highlights our current position on these major regional transit opportunities here.


Let’s turn I-40 and I-885 into Smart Freeways
The approved RTA action plan for 2023 includes five focus areas, one of which is rapid relief for freeways. A key component of our freeway focus area is to use technology to make the most of our existing road infrastructure in addition to targeted freeway expansions and improvements. RTA remains a strong supporter of the on-ramp signals on I-540 in north Raleigh that NCDOT successfully implemented a few years ago; these and other techniques can help manage and protect traffic flow on our multimodal freeway network for all users.

We are hopeful that I-40 and I-885 between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill can become “smart freeways” to link us closer and better together through the use of technology and innovation, including targeted expansions of on-ramp signals and the activation of transit priority shoulders over time. Others cities in the US and beyond have successfully implemented smart freeways; our region can also leverage technology and innovation to keep us moving as we grow. We appreciate the leadership of NCDOT and our two metropolitan planning organizations on this issue, and we offer thanks to Chris Lukasina and Doug Plachcinski, the executive directors of CAMPO and DCHC MPO, respectively, for their comments to the RTA Leadership Team earlier today on the future of I-40.


Thank you for your ongoing dedication to regional business leadership on mobility.

Let’s get moving,

RTA Executive Director

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