National Issues

The tri-state area’s 22 million residents represent the largest economic and population center in the U.S. But the New York metropolitan region doesn’t function in isolation from surrounding cities and states.

In recent years, RPA has conducted research and advanced groundbreaking ideas on the need to consider some economic and environmental challenges at the large regional scale. In the Northeast, our work has focused on the need for improvements in rail service between Washington, D.C. and Boston, the key corridor in a region that represents 20% of the overall U.S. economy. RPA leads the Northeast Alliance for Rail, a coalition of businesses, civic leaders and planning groups seeking ways advance critical passenger rail projects that will reduce travel times between major urban hubs, cut pollution and encourage economic development.

Another major focus is the emergence nationally of megaregions -- large networks of metropolitan areas such as the Northeast, the Texas Triangle or Southern California -- that share economic interests, landscapes and watersheds and key transportation corridors. In recent years, under RPA’s America 2050 program, we have shaped the national debate on high-speed rail, highlighted by a recent study identifying the most viable corridors for super-fast train service in the U.S.

Recent research has focused on restoring the nation's infrastructure and identifying ways to accelerate the completion of critical projects. In the coming years we will be looking at how to integrate water and energy infrastructure planning with land-use considerations at the regional scale.