Baker to Meet NH, RI, MD Governors on Reducing Traffic Congestion
BOSTON — The governors of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maryland will join Governor Charlie Baker in Boston next week to talk with transportation technology experts and policy advisors about ways to reduce congestion and boost economic competitiveness.
Baker will play host to the National Governors Association's Infrastructure Stakeholder Summit at the Fairmont Copley Plaza on Monday and Tuesday. The NGA said Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will attend to discuss a ubiquitous problem.
The summit will feature two sessions on congestion relief -- one detailing state strategies for multi-modal transportation investments and the other exploring advancements in technology that could hold the promise of reducing congestion for people and shipped goods, the NGA said.
"While the federal government fails to develop effective solutions, state and local leaders are working to ensure Americans' safety and quality of life with modern, well-functioning infrastructure," the NGA wrote in a release. "During the summit, governors, private-sector experts and other attendees will engage in panel discussions, a thought-provoking site visit, as well as peer-to-peer exchanges and networking opportunities."
The NGA did not immediately respond when asked which site the governors will visit to provoke their thoughts while in Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, the Baker administration released a long-awaited study that concluded that the near-omnipresent congestion on Massachusetts roadways has now reached a "tipping point."
The report found that access to employment is strained and statewide greenhouse gas emissions targets are becoming more challenging to meet. The frustrating and sometimes unpredictable congestion has ripple effects throughout society.
"When people can't plan for their commute to take the same amount of time each day, it affects work schedules, childcare arrangements, school drop-offs and pickups and a whole variety of other issues," Baker said earlier this month.
Addressing the problem, Baker's team said, will require a multi-pronged approach that combines improvements to public transit, construction of new housing and better planning to avoid disruptions from individual accidents or construction. The governor also called for further study of so-called "managed lanes," which add lanes of travel where drivers can opt to pay a toll for the promise of faster travel.
Hogan, the chairman of the NGA, will speak Tuesday at 8:45 a.m., ahead of the two gubernatorial sessions on congestion. After the summit, the NGA will host an inaugural Transportation Policy Institute, to give advisors to the governors an opportunity to share ideas, network and learn about transportation policy in other states.