A look ahead to 2022 — part one
- January 6, 2022
- Posted by: Joe Milazzo II
- Category: Blog
This week’s blog, and also this week’s weekly member briefing, provides a preview of the upcoming year. The Thursday Thoughts at 3 blog post is a slightly longer version. I will continue these in subsequent weeks.
Our members can help secure sustainable funding for RDU
In 2021 we enjoyed outstanding work by the dedicated members of the RTA RDU AID task force – including the release of their follow-up findings and recommendations, which took a holistic, post-pandemic approach to funding infrastructure at RDU International.
In 2022 we elevate our letter writing campaign – involving each of our members – to request substantial federal funding to replace and relocate primary runway 5L-23R at RDU. Originally announced in our August 19, 2021 weekly member briefing, RTA is working in concert with several of our members including RDU Airport, the Research Triangle Foundation, and the Triangle J Council of Governments on a coordinated campaign to maximize federal funding for RDU’s primary runway.
We invite each of our members to consider writing a letter of support during the first half of 2022 for increased federal funding for RDU’s runway. Please reply to me directly – use subject line “RDU runway letter” – if you would be willing to consider submitting a letter of support from your company or organization.
This is an important initiative for the regional business community, and one that is both essential and doable. I hope that you can participate; if you can, we will make it easy for you. We will provide you with a template, and also a suggested timeline for sending the letter to maximize our collective impact.
I-885 will open, and spur complementary improvements
Our region’s newest Interstate, I-885, will open in a few months. In our October 1, 2021 weekly blog, we noted that the upcoming opening of the I-885 connector in Durham between NC 147 and I-85 will effectively create a new “Durham loop” while relieving traffic in Downtown. Indeed, I-885 will transform mobility in Durham – our region’s central county – as well as the entire Research Triangle metropolitan area.
The project associated with this corridor is formally known as the “East End Connector”; we have often called it the “Triangle Connector to I-85” to highlights its regional importance and to garner broader support for the improvement.
RTA has focused on the regional importance of this freeway for more than a decade, and it was our organization’s highest priority for several years, prior to its advancement to construction in 2015. It will create an improved connection between Research Triangle Park and I-85, while better linking the US 70/Bethesda/Brier Creek/North Raleigh areas and Downtown Durham. The corridor will also create a broader linkage between I-85 and US 1 south, as WRAL pointed out in a story back in 2009.
I believe that when I-885 opens, it will highlight opportunities for complementary improvements to nearby roadways. To that point, we have called for portions of several corridors including US 15-501 to be transformed into multimodal “regional boulevards“, and we look forward to discussions and engagement with the leadership of the DCHC MPO and other partners this year.
RTA celebrated our 20th annual meeting this past fall with around 200 members and partners enjoying an excellent hybrid (i.e., outside and inside) celebration. I have been honored to be there for every one of them, as have several of our members. I can tell you confidently that after two decades of success, that the best for this organization, our members, and this region, is yet to come. More perspectives about 2022 are coming in next week’s post.
Let’s get moving,
Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director
RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation