Friday, November 18, 2005

Tri-County Parkway Takes Another Step Forward

As reported in today's Washington Post, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved a route for the controversial Tri-County Parkway planned for Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun, and directed the Virginia Department of Transportation to seek private sector proposals to finance the $201 million cost of the 10.4-mile highway. Sayeth the Post:

State officials and other parkway supporters say the road is critical to link the Dulles business corridor with the growing residential communities of Prince William and Loudoun counties. Chronically crowded Route 28 is the primary north-south connection; otherwise drivers must take a series of country roads.

But critics argue that the plan is inconsistent with the transportation platform articulated by Gov.-elect Tim Kaine during his election campaign. Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth had this to say in a prepared statement (not yet posted online):

The Commonwealth Transportation Board’s [decisions are] a clear demonstration of why Governor-elect Kaine’s message about needing new thinking to solve our transportation problems resonated with voters. These outer bypasses and beltways would primarily open up more land for development instead of addressing people’s existing transportation needs. ...

The Tri-County Parkway, Schwartz says, would be the first link in an outer beltway that developers who own the land along the route have pushed for decades. Furthermore,

[VDOT's] study of the Tri-County highway indicated that the north-south highway would have almost no effect on relieving current traffic congestion, but the new travel and development the highway would trigger would increase traffic in the study area, and along Interstate 66, in particular.

State funds, Schwartz said, should be used to fix I-66 and to improve the local road network instead.

On the other hand, Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer was quoted in the Post article as saying that there isn't any state money to spend: "There's extremely limited available funding to even do the next phase of planning or engineering, and there's no funding for right-of-way acquisition or planning or construction." In all probability, the Tri-County Parkway would have to be funded through tolls.


At 9:54 AM, Blogger Will Vehrs said...

Will you let us know when Tim Kaine takes a position on this project?

"Critics" can "argue" that the plan is "inconsistent," but we won't really know until we hear it from the source, will we?

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schwartz' prepared statement is "These outer bypasses and beltways would primarily open up more land for development..." What new Schwartz idea is this? Has he looked at a map of North South routes, or other non-radial routes to connect our growing network of ring cities?

Schwartz is right, we need to fix 66 AND do the tri county parkway. And by the way, Loudoun didn't want any new road so this thing is supposed to stop at the Loudoun boundary and not connect to elsewhere.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.


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