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The Regional Transportation Plan will be completed by the end of 2018, Metro says.

COURTESY PHOTO - Councilor Shirley Craddick (left) talks with a Metro employee. The East Metro Economic Alliance's February membership meeting was focused on Metro and the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan.

Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick was the featured speaker. She gave an overview of the current status of the plan and what the next steps will be. She also addressed opportunities on how community members can engage in prioritizing investments to create a safe, reliable, healthy and affordable transportation system for the region.

"This plan influences congestion, clean air and safety," Craddick said. "It takes on how we get around every day."

The meeting was held Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, at Fairview City Hall. It was sponsored by Kohler Meyers O'Halloran Inc. Realtors.

The Regional Transportation Plan will help respond to the changing transportation needs of communities and businesses, establishing priorities for state, federal and regional funding.

"Transportation has a significant impact on our economy, so this work is important," Craddick said.

Safety is one of the key concerns of the plan. One third of the projects will directly address safety, and almost 60 percent will be conducted in high-injury corridors. The investments are also planned to alleviate congestion, with Metro predicting 500,000 more people and 350,000 more jobs in the region by 2040.

In addition to work in the roadways, a focus will be placed on alternative modes of transportation, such as bikes, buses and trains.

During the meeting, some of of the issues brought up by the assembled business and community leaders included the avoidance of blocking storefronts during construction, better ways to transport freight and materials, and added options for employees to get to work.

The Regional Transportation Plan will be completed by the end of 2018.

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