April 20, 2016
This month 36 Commuting Solutions proudly donned our advocacy hat and joined the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition (US 36 MCC) for an annual trip to Washington, DC (RTD, CDOT and HPTE also joined the coalition on their trip). Each year the coalition meets with a congressional delegation, the House and Senate transportation committees, and even federal transportation agencies! Each trip is focused on building relationships and setting the stage for future funding requests, and this year’s trip was no different.
During these meetings, the coalition thanked congressional members for their support of US 36 infrastructure improvements, found out more about new grant programs and discussed continued investments in the Northwest corridor. When thanking the delegation, we were able to share news of what these infrastructure improvements mean for the US 36 corridor – RTD reports that there is a 45% increase in US 36 ridership compared to August 2015, and CDOT reports that the US 36 Express Lanes have increased travel speeds by up to 29%.
The meetings are not just a time to provide updates, but to advocate for transportation and infrastructure improvements. These annual trips set the stage for acquiring transportation funding in upcoming years, and this trip helped identify 2016 and 2017 funding opportunities for both the US 36 corridor and arterial Bus Rapid Transit corridors. Specifically, we were able to identify both Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding and a TIGER grant that the US 36 coalition will pursue in partnership with CDOT, RTD and the NATA.
And, while not directly related to the traffic congestion in our corridor, the coalition made a point of focusing on train horn noise and sharing feedback with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on train horn noise and quiet zone requirements (this is an issue specific to the Northwest region, where many residents and businesses are located near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line).
The trip takes our coalition to the heart of transportation advocacy and legislation, and is a place where opportunities to improve the corridor’s transportation infrastructure are abundant. We left the trip with a number of action items that will help us improve the US 36 multi-modal transportation infrastructure and related technology.