by Joe Milazzo II, PE, RTA Executive Director

Note:  This post was updated on December 16, 2015

We were pleased to have nearly 300 regional leaders at RTA’s 14th annual meeting on Dec. 3 to celebrate the mobility accomplishments of the business community and our elected and transportation partners and to learn about opportunities for success in urban transportation.

Here’s a summary of event highlights plus key updates on transportation progress in our market.

The 2015 State of Mobility report provided an overview of several successes including:

  • Future I-44 authorization between Raleigh and Hampton Roads, Va., just signed by President Obama on Friday, Dec. 4
  • Complete 540 moves forward with public meetings this week, Dec. 7 – 9 in southern Wake County
  • I-885/Triangle Connector to I-85 commences construction in Durham County
  • Wake Transit process moves forward with recommendations from bipartisan advisory committee
  • I-40/Fortify project proceeds with lower-than-feared delays and new transit options to provide relief for commuters
  • Raleigh-Richmond higher speed rail final environmental document approved
  • Fifth non-stop West Coast destination secured for RDU with new flight to Seattle via Alaska Airlines–every major domestic air carrier now serves RDU

Kudos to NC Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary of Communications Mike Charbonneau for offering perspectives on several of the freeway, street, and transit items during the presentation.

2015 Transportation Champion awards were presented to:

  • Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority for community leadership and partnership to secure a second transatlantic flight, RDU – Paris, beginning May 2016, making RDU the only non-hub airport in the US with multiple daily transatlantic flights
  • Tom Looney, RTA 2013-15 transit chair, recently retired from Lenovo, for leadership on elevating the potential for bus rapid transit in our market and the importance of enhanced transit for our entire community — Looney was also recognized in a Triangle Business Journal article the next day for his award and for his thoughts on international air service

Preview of the draft final Wake Transit plan  provided by Commissioner Matt Calabria and John Kane, CEO of Kane Realty Corporation, Wake Transit Advisory Committee member, and RTA Leadership Team member. The draft final Wake Transit plan was revealed Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the Raleigh Convention Center. As reported in a recent News&Observer blog, major focus areas of the draft plan include:

  • Regional connections – commuter rail from Garner to west Durham and express regional bus service serving RDU and locations within Wake, Durham, and Orange counties
  • Connections to all Wake towns – bus links from all towns to Raleigh as well as new links between some smaller communities
  • Frequent, reliable urban mobility – 15 minute service along many routes including several bus rapid transit corridors
  • Enhanced access to transit – matching funds to smaller towns to develop and operate enhanced local service

Keynote presentation by Gabe Klein highlighted the importance of designing urban centers around people, the benefits of an entrepreneurial approach to transportation, and the mobility and economic impact of  public transportation.

  • Read several takeaways from Gabe’s presentation from Twitter via #RTASOM15
  • Select quotes from his book Start-Up City are here
  • Gabe’s responses to questions from State of Mobility participants have been posted here

Thank you to everyone who attended the event, to our award winners, and to the entire RTA Leadership Team and our event sponsors.

We look forward to another excellent year of success in transportation through business leadership!

Let’s get moving,

Joe