METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
The metropolitan Washington region’s leaders have recognized the fundamental role infrastructure plays in the ability to maintain and improve the region. However, despite regional recognition of the importance of maintaining our infrastructure, infrastructure investment is often a challenge for many organizations. Officials at the federal, state, and local level must balance an enormous number of funding needs, and sufficient funds often are not available for infrastructure needs.
To raise awareness about the importance of adequate infrastructure funding, the COG Board of Directors established Regional Infrastructure as a priority focus for 2014. This report synthesizes information considered by the Board of Directors throughout the year and explains the current status and future needs to address the region’s infrastructure systems.
The COG Board of Directors focused on five critical infrastructure sectors—transportation, water, energy, local public buildings, and public safety communications. These infrastructure systems were selected as they are lifeline infrastructure systems that are regional in scope, are owned and controlled locally or regionally, or are significantly affected by government regulation.
This report found that the Region has been making considerable investment in maintaining and expanding critical infrastructure. These investments are being made by local, state and federal governments, local and regional authorities, energy, telecommunication, water and wastewater utilities, and private businesses. A variety of sources are used to pay for infrastructure investments, including tax collections, utility rates, and user fees paid for services such as on toll roads.
Despite these investments, and in light of the continued growth in the region, with more than 1.6 million new residents expected by 2040 (an increase of nearly 33%), billions of dollars in additional funding is needed to maintain our critical infrastructure. Comparing and comprehensively quantifying the needs across the region and its major infrastructure sectors requires accounting for the different planning horizons and financing assumptions made by each infrastructure provider. Accepting that there is no standard time frame for analysis, this report conservatively estimates a funding gap of $58 billion in the next 15 years.
The ability to expand and sustain the metropolitan Washington region is directly connected to the health and sustainability of the Region’s infrastructure. This report highlights the need to bring infrastructure development, operations and maintenance needs to the forefront of governmental priorities. Local, state, and federal officials need to work with regional partners to secure funds and implement solutions to provide for these critical needs.
About the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. COG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress.