CAPITAL REGION — The Capital District Transportation Committee has announced plans to hold a series of virtual public comment sessions on its draft New Visions 2050 plan, a 30-year plan for the investment principles and planning strategies that will govern federal transportation spending in the region.
“Planning the Capital Region’s transportation system for the year 2050 presents vast opportunities and real challenges,” said Michael Franchini, the CDTC’s executive director. “How will our region grow and evolve? What type of transportation system will best meet the future needs of out residents and visitors? How do we maintain a high quality of life while expanding access to transportation choices and creating new economic opportunities?”
The plan delves into such questions as whether autonomous vehicles and other new technologies will present new opportunities, challenges and disruptions.
One challenge not originally anticipated is the coronavirus pandemic. “Due to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for public health, CDTC has cancelled all in-person presentations, meetings and events related to the plan’t public review,” the agency said in announcing its plans.
But there also will be hour-long virtual Zoom workshops on four Wednesdays in July: July 8, at 1:30 p.m.; July 15, at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; July 22, at 6:30 p.m.; July 29, at 1:30 p.m. The public can register for the Zoom meetings at the CDTC website. They may also comment by email or text comments to 518-618-2498.
The draft report finds that technological changes in coming years will include more widespread adoption of electric and self-driving vehicles and more use of shared cars, bicycles and e-scooters, and that transportation planners need to consider what those changes mean.
At the same time, keeping up with maintaining and replacing aging roads and bridges ideally will require around $300 million more per year than the region has been spending in transportation infrastructure, the report says.
While not discussing specific projects that will be needed as the Capital Region’s roads and bridges age, the report does note that the amount of federal funding the region will receive will depend on the action of future U.S. Congresses.