In light of the significant jump in traffic congestion expected at many of the installations growing as a result of BRAC 2005, the Pentagon should accept more responsibility for traffic problems it causes, according to a congressionally mandated study released last week.
The report, from the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board, calls for Congress to consider a special appropriation or the allocation of uncommitted stimulus funds to pay for near-term improvements in communities most severely affected by the base closure round. In the medium and long term, DOD should create new funding streams for transportation infrastructure, the report’s authors recommended.
The report also bolstered the argument of lawmakers from several growth communities — especially Northern Virginia — that the eligibility criteria for the Defense Access Roads program requiring traffic to double in metropolitan areas is flawed. The program should be reworked by establishing an impact fee approach to pay for the military’s share of road improvements in metropolitan areas and a separate DOD program to fund transit services for military personnel.
The report’s case studies — Fort Belvoir, Va., National Naval Medical Center and Fort Meade, Md., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Eglin AFB, Fla., and Fort Bliss, Texas — illustrate six locations where BRAC 2005 will significantly affect traffic congestion in surrounding communities. Officials in communities surrounding three installations in the Washington region are scrambling to find funds to alleviate pending congestion, the Washington Post reports.