Rockville Mayor Newton To Lead Regional Transportation Planning Board

Rockville Mayor Newton To Lead Regional Transportation Planning Board

Metro, traffic congestion alleviation are her two top priorities

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Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton

File photo

Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said Thursday her goals for 2017 as the new chairman of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board are to find ways to fully fund Metro and to have a discussion about the transportation projects that will be most beneficial to alleviate congestion.

Newton was unanimously elected Wednesday to serve for the coming year.

The board is made up of representatives from local governments, state transportation agencies, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and members of the Maryland and Virginia legislatures. It prepares plans and programs that the federal government must approve for U.S. transportation funds to flow to the region, according to a statement released by the mayor.

Newton said board members were told recently that even if the region’s governments spent $100 billion on transportation projects, traffic would still get 25 percent worse.

“It was one of the things that hit us square in the forehead,” she said. “…We all looked at each other, and said, ‘No.’ That’s not what we’re here for.”

Newton served two terms as a city council member, and then was first elected to mayor in 2013. She was re-elected mayor in 2015 to the first four-year term in Rockville history.

She is completing her fourth term on the transportation planning board and served as the board’s vice chairman this year. She will begin a one-year term as the chairman in January.

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