[Figure 3] Metro’s Planning Process
Funding Priorities — Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
An increase in funding can often create opportunities for innovation. ARRA provided such an opportunity by enabling transit providers to demonstrate their role in the national economy and transportation system. Metro acted upon this opportunity and successfully connected ARRA project selection decisions to its strategic goals. The benefits of this approach were so clear that Metro continued this strategic prioritization for its longer term capital needs.
Prioritization of Metro’s capital needs enabled staff to link agency goals to capital investment decisions, establish a transparent and replicable process, address funding constraints and reinforce the foundation for capital programming. This new capital decision-making process has allowed Metro to evaluate crucial trade-offs using the wide-ranging experience of its staff, and to allocate the available financial resources to yield the greatest return to Metro customers.
Metro’s growing emphasis on strategic decision making can also be seen in the recent creation of the Office of Performance. The mission of this office is to increase the use of performance information to guide actions, to promote Metro’s benefits in the region and to unify employees to accomplish agency goals. Simply stated, this new office was established to inform, promote and unify Metro.
As the country focuses on the economy, mobility and the environment, making the case for transit investments is paramount. By linking funding decisions to strategic goals, using viable tools like Decision Lens and tracking progress, we can demonstrate the benefits of transit capital investments. Can any of us afford not to?
Patricia Hendren is a director in the Office of Performance at Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.