How much will moveDC cost? $54 billion

The D.C. Department of Transportation’s ambitious long-range transportation plan, moveDC,  would expand the city’s transit options while deterring driving through the use of toll lanes in the city’s gateways and a congestion charge downtown.  But implementing the plan wouldn’t be cheap. The price tag: $54 billion.

moveDC
moveDC

The plan looks ahead to 2040 and envisions a city with a wide transit network that includes a streetcar system, dedicated bus lanes in major commuter corridors, expanded Metrorail service downtown, a water taxi system and 200 miles of on-street bicycle facilities.

The majority of the cost would go toward transit, according to the report, which lays out about $40 billion worth of transit-related capital investments and operating costs.

That’s a lot of money and the city would need to figure out where money for most of the projects would come from, but Sam Zimbabwe, director of policy, planning and sustainability at DDOT said the benefits to investing in public transit outweigh the costs.

“There is a lot of benefit both in terms of saving private costs but also enabling continuing growth and economic development that serves the tax base and continues to grow the District,” Zimbabwe said.

“If we don’t provide transit service, people have to drive and they have to sit in traffic,” which is costly to motorists, he said. “There is a lot of private costs that doesn’t get captured, but that is important to calculate at some point.”

The draft plan, which is expected to be finalized next month, identifies a combination of revenue sources that could help fund the proposal, including a projected increase in federal funding and local funding.  The city is expected to receive an estimated $20.8 billion in transportation funds over the next 25 years, according to the report.

The plan also projects potential funding from an increase in advertising at bus shelters and the revenues from the proposed cordon charge in a portion of downtown.

See the highlights of moveDC here.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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