What you may not be thinking about during your travels is how the regional business community is looking every day for ways to make your journey quicker and easier. That’s where the Regional Transportation Alliance, a program of the Raleigh Chamber, comes in. They know that, when figuring out the future of Triangle transportation, there truly is no finish line. More initiatives, more innovation, and more inspiration always will be necessary!
No finish line also is the mantra used by the NC Courage, who completed a dominant season by winning the NWSL championship and the Women’s International Challenge Cup. To show what that means to this community, RTA awarded the Courage with the 2019 Regional Inspiration Award.
Jessica McDonald, the NWSL championship MVP, accepted the award on behalf of the team at the RTA 17th Annual Meeting – The State of Mobility 2019. She also appeared in this video, along with RTA staff and members of the RTA Steering Committee.
Now that you’re fired up after watching the video, let’s tackle transportation!
We, along with RTA, were pleased to welcome Mike Fox, chair of the North Carolina Board of Transportation, as the keynote speaker for RTA’s Annual Meeting.
“2018 was a busy year for us,” said Fox. “It was a year of major accomplishments.”
He referenced the anticipated opening in a couple months of the Bonner Bridge in Dare County on the Outer Banks. Fox also talked about the passage of the Build NC legislation, which accelerates some local and regional road projects across the state. He then discussed some of the federal grants North Carolina received in 2018, and the state’s response to Hurricane Florence which resulted in 2,468 cumulative road closures.
Fox also shared plans for the future.
“We will keep the momentum going,” he said.
With more cars on the road that are electric or hybrid (and the discussion of autonomous, self-driving cars), Fox said there needs to be more attention on the impact to revenue from the motor fuels tax.
“We need to discuss how we go about funding transportation moving forward,” he said. “With cars changing, our revenue from the motor fuels tax will go down.”
Fox concluded by saying that efforts will continue to improve how the state delivers projects that communities want, need, and will use.
Following his address, RTA Executive Director Joe Milazzo II spoke about The State of Mobility. He summarized RTA’s top five priorities.
- Accelerating 540 to I-40
- Identifying sustainable funding for RDU Airport
- Advocating for fast, enhanced transit
- Promoting congestion relief
- Advancing innovative solutions
Milazzo said 2018 was a great year for RTA and the region. RTA grew as an organization to more than 110 members, including 74 at the Leadership and Bronze levels. That marks a 50 percent increase since 2014.
Also, Milazzo mentioned how RDU Airport is experiencing significant growth.
“RDU is on an absolute tear,” he said, referencing the now 11 air carriers at RDU and how Frontier Airlines has gone from three to 32 summer destinations in 18 months.
“The airport had the highest number of passengers last year by far,” said Milazzo.
He also talked about challenges that are ahead for 2019 and beyond.
“The new draft state transportation plan is brutal from a scheduling standpoint,” said Milazzo.
He said it would end up delaying many major projects in our region and statewide, including the US 1 conversion to freeway north of I-540, the US 70 conversion to freeway west of TW Alexander, improvements to US 64 west, and the widening of the Wade Avenue freeway.
Milazzo encouraged the business community to focus on areas where it could make an impact including finding funding solutions, joining the “Let’s Make I-40 Better” Action Team, and participating in traffic studies such as the analysis of Capital Boulevard between the beltline and I-540.
The event then concluded with an executive panel including Milazzo, Bobby Lewis, chief operating officer for NCDOT, Bruce Sargent, RTA 2018 chair and the director of IBM North America Real Estate and Strategy Operations, and Geoff Lang, RTA 2019 chair and the vice president and general manager of MetLife’s Global Technology Campus in Cary.
We want to join with our partner, RTA, in thanking the presenting sponsor of The State of Mobility 2019, the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. Thank you, also, to all of the speakers for their great insight, and to all of the RTA major investors and sponsors who made this event possible. Finally, we also want to thank Brios Media for producing the great video!
The State of Mobility generated a lot of interest and discussion in our area. Our official Twitter hashtag, #RTASOM19, was among the top trending topics that day in the Raleigh area.
Don’t forget to be on the lookout every Thursday at 3 p.m. for RTA’s Thursday Thoughts at 3, a weekly series that offers perspectives on regional transportation issues. You can find it on RTA’s blog site.
If you are not yet an RTA member, we encourage you to join them.
Check back later on our events page to find out more about the next RTA event, the RTA Transportation Breakfast, which will be held on July 12.