This page contains several case study summaries about RTA engagement on a variety of organizational successes since 2002. A few summaries also include testimonials from key partners of the impact of RTA.

Case study summaries of RTA successes:

  • Spearheaded successful regional lobbying effort for 540/147 Triangle Expressway
    • The completion of the Raleigh Outer Loop beltway has been a top priority for the local and regional business community, as well elected leaders and transportation planners, for many years.
    • In 2003 RTA commenced an effort to accelerate the extension of the 540 beltway – and its companion project, an extension of the 147/Durham Freeway, when it became clear that tolls were likely the only option to build these roadways in a timely fashion.
    • This nine year effort included the creation of SW-Wake-mayors-RTA-I-540-resolution to consider tolls for 540, coordination of resolutions of multiple organizations to support tolls to advance 147 extension, and advocacy for multiple critical legislation including $25 million per year in gap funding, toll revenue retention legislation to ensure toll revenues remain on the corridor, and legislative and MPO approval of the turnpike.
    • These efforts led to the creation of the first modern turnpike and largest transportation project in North Carolina history and America’s most advanced toll road:  16 miles of new turnpike freeway in southern Durham and western Wake counties, all open by 2012, with full compatibility with E-ZPass, Florida SunPass, and NC Quick Pass during 2013.
    • “The Triangle Expressway is a compelling success story that wouldn’t have been written without the Regional Transportation Alliance. RTA’s leadership and support was essential for the project’s approval and financing—without RTA’s endorsement and ongoing leadership for several years, the project wouldn’t exist. I will always be personally grateful as should the citizens of this state, and especially this region.”
      David Joyner, former executive director, North Carolina Turnpike Authority
    • The Regional Transportation Alliance has done a lot with scaling our transportation infrastructure as our market continues to grow…we would not have had the toll road if RTA hadn’t been in place.”
         – Harvey Schmitt, president emeritus, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce – TBJ interview
  • Saved the extension of 540 in southeastern Wake County
    • The Complete 540 study was restarted in 2013 as a result of RTA and Town of Garner-coordinated efforts to hire national environmental policy firm and coordinate southern Wake partners group — these efforts to clarify the landscape of options and solution paths led to the 2013 repeal of legislation that had delayed the project and allowed the study of 540 to proceed. 
    • “Without RTA’s involvement of bringing all the interested parties together, we would never have been able to move 540 forward in southern and eastern Wake County — it’s just that simple.  RTA was the only group that had the relationships and strength to get the turnpike project back on track.”
         – Terry Gibson, PE, former chief engineer, North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Spearheaded media and marketing campaign for approved Wake Transit referendum in 2016
    • RTA coordinated business community advocacy efforts, including messaging, strategy, and outreach, for the successful campaign to create the largest sales tax referendum in North Carolina history.
    • The referendum passed in November 2016 with support from nearly 53% of voters who endorsed a new, dedicated, locally-controlled mechanism for enhanced transit investments.
    • The Wake County referendum is unique it that it is the only approved 1/2-cent sales tax referendum in North Carolina which will provide a primary local funding source for an approved transit plan without a light rail component.
  • Successfully pushed for bus rapid transit-based approach as basis of approved Wake Transit plan
    • The RTA regional business coalition has been a strong supporter of advancing transit since our inception more than 15 years ago in 2002 as separate membership organization.
    • In 2013 the RTA voted to reject the proposed Wake Transit plan and encourage the development of a bus rapid transit-based approach to accelerating and enhancing transit.
    • In 2015 Wake County introduced a revised Wake Transit plan which included four bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, the tripling of bus service levels in the county, and the expansion of our existing frequent network by more than 60 miles (including BRT).
    • In 2016 RTA endorsed the plan, and the plan was subsequently approved by the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the regional GoTriangle Board of Trustees.
    • In fall 2016 Wake County voters approved a new funding source for transit via referendum.
  • Spearheaded regional business community’s marketing efforts for new international flight at RDU Airport
    • RTA created the Air Service Advancement Project in 2015 to help attract a second international flight, to complement and strengthen our existing transatlantic service. RDU has had an American Airlines daily nonstop service to London, England for two decades.
    • RTA raised approximately $250,000 in case and in-kind funds for marketing support through the ASAP initiative.
    • ASAP funds were used to purchase outdoor billboard advertising on multiple billboards in three counties, as well as on mobile buildboards, to promote both a new flight to Paris, which launched in 2016, as well as our existing London flight.
  • Led regional business community’s efforts to secure additional funding support for RDU International
    • RTA has been promoting RDU International as an economic development engine for our market for several years.
    • In 2017, with RDU having released its Vision 2040 Master Plan initiative, RTA established as the organization’s second-highest priority the need to secure funding to complete the Master Plan.
    • RTA promoted this need through sustained outreach across members of the business community as well as elected partners.
    • RDU successfully received $31 million in annual recurring funds for airside improvements from the NC Legislature as part of the 2017-18 state budget.
    • In addition, RDU received a federal grant to reconstruct one of the taxiways at the airport.
  • Successfully received approval in 2016 for Interstate 87 designation for US 64 east of Raleigh
    • Signage for Raleigh and Wake County’s second primary Interstate route was posted along the western segments of the corridor in Raleigh and Wendell in summer 2017. I-87 is Raleigh’s first north-south primary Interstate route.
    • RTA spearheaded the ongoing, two-state push for a Future Interstate 87 corridor from Raleigh to Hampton Roads via northeastern North Carolina on behalf of the regional business community and in cooperation with partner organizations in eastern NC and southeastern VA.
    • The effort to secure the I-87 designation from Raleigh to coastal Virginia along portions of US 64 and US 17 – and its complementary predecessor effort to obtain an ultimately provisional designation of I-495 for the western segments of the corridor – began in 2005 and reached fruition in 2017 with the posting of I-87 signage in Wake County.
    • I-495 and future I-495 designations were announced at the 2013 RTA Annual Meeting by N.C. Governor McCrory and subsequently posted along the corridor in 2014.
    • “In 2003 Joe Milazzo from the business leadership group Regional Transportation Alliance approached the NC Northeast Regional Partnership to discuss a possible interstate corridor that would connect I-40 in Raleigh to I-64 in Hampton Roads. Over the years, this route became one of the region’s major logistical priorities. And through all these years, Joe has remained a solid supporter and advisor for the “I-87 corridor”. Much of the progress made to date began at that first discussion in 2003.  Thank you Joe for your long term support and assistance!”
         – Vann Rogerson, Sr. VP, NC East Alliance, former President/CEO, NC Northeast Regional Partnership
  • Led the acceleration of I-40 Cary/Raleigh widening project
    • This effort was initiated by an RTA-suggested alternative concept in 2007, and fully completed only four years later in 2011 by NCDOT.
    • This project unclogged the region’s top bottleneck, and resulted in peak travel time savings of around 30% and peak travel time reliability improvements of 70%.
    • The RTA-suggested alternative concept resulted in lower construction costs and much faster implementation by advancing fewer new lanes than originally proposed while still providing relief. Click here for more information.
  • Endorsed both the Durham County and Orange County transit referenda
    • RTA provided a regional business community support for new, dedicated, locally-controlled funding sources for our two core western counties.
    • Both of the referenda passed with around 60 percent of the vote in November 2011 and November 2012, respectively.
    • RTA also endorsed the original transit empowerment legislation (H148) which was signed into law in 2009.
  • Spearheaded regional campaign to advance the Triangle Connector to I-85 / East End Connector  / I-885
    • RTA held vital meetings with NCDOT and regional leadership, initiated a regional branding effort and advocacy for a smaller, less expensive initial footprint, and a review of loop funding criteria.
    • The Connector began construction in spring 2015 after more than 50 years in the planning stages.
  • Coordinated regional effort to create North Carolina’s first on-ramp signals pilot for I-540
    • RTA supported the outreach and communications efforts for the I-540 on-ramp signals pilot which began in September 2017.
    • RTA led the effort to lobby for the ramp metering authorization legislation needed to successfully implement on-ramp signals in North Carolina. This legislation was signed by Governor McCrory in July 2014 (H1025) and facilitated the introduction of on-ramp signals in North Carolina.
  • Advanced successful efforts to launch North Carolina’s first Bus on Shoulders System (BOSS) pilot
    • through the I-40 Regional Partnership coordinated by RTA; BOSS launched in Durham County in July 2012, expanded in Durham, Wake, and Johnston counties in 2013, and with 60 active shoulder miles is now the largest BOSS network mileage in the United States outside of Minnesota’s Twin Cities region
  • Successfully requested funding for multiple interchanges in the region’s core
    • RTA submitted North Carolina Mobility Fund proposals in 2012 for a new interchange on U.S. 70/Brier Creek Parkway and improvements for I-40/Aviation Parkway interchange.
    • These were together awarded $17 million in 2012 as a result of RTA Mobility Fund submittals; these interchange projects were among the highest-ranking projects in the new Statewide Strategic Transportation Investments process initial scoring in March 2014.
  • Successfully lobbied for the retention of $500 million in federal funding for higher speed rail
    • RTA successfully pushed to retain federal funding for improvements between Raleigh and Charlotte, enabling enhanced future passenger rail options in the Piedmont Crescent via the Piedmont Improvement Program coordinated by NCDOT Rail Division.
  • Adoption of fair share contribution opportunity legislation for electric vehicles
    • RTA requested and advocated for an opportunity for vehicles who are unable to pay motor fuel taxes to still contribute to the development and maintenance of our state highway system.
    • This funding source was incorporated in the state budget in 2013.
  • Implementation of RTA-requested speed limit requests
    • RTA has successfully requested more than 80 miles of freeway speed limit requests on regional freeways.
    • The following freeways have approved and implemented requests to increase the limit to 70 MPH (from 65 MPH) along all or portions of their length:  I-540, NC 540, Toll 540, US 1 South, Toll 147.
    • The following freeways have approved and implemented requests to increase the limit to 65 MPH (from 60 MPH) along all or portions of their length:  Wade Avenue Extension.
    • The following freeways have approved and implemented requests to increase the limit to 65 MPH (from 55 MPH) along all or portions of their length:  US 1 South, NC 147.
    • The following freeways have approved and implemented requests to increase the limit to 60 MPH (from 55 MPH) along all or portions of their length:  US 15-501, Wade Avenue Extension, Aviation Parkway.
  • Successful advocacy for Strategic Transportation Investments legislation
    • RTA has pushed for many years for a data-driven prioritization and allocation method for state transportation priorities. In 2013 the legislature introduced, and RTA endorsed, a new, data-driven, statewide funding formula which has served as a model for the nation.
  • Funded research on controlled roundabouts, later published by US Transportation Research Board
    • RTA funded research in 2013 to examine the potential for introducing a part-time signal for the roundabout approach roadways upstream from the roundabout entrance.
    • This research was published and highlighted in 2014 at the annual meeting of the US Transportation Research Board, subsequent to a presentation in 2013 at an RTA Solutions Forum.