NOVA Weighs In On Allocation of VDOT Transportation Funds
Demand is high for funding for transportation improvements across the region
Northern Virginia has billions of dollars worth of transportation needs, and yesterday the Commonwealth Transportation Board got input from 16 local speakers on projects that should be included in the Virginia Department of Transportation's 2013-2018 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP).
The SYIP includes funding for rail, transit and transportation demand management programs. Last year, the CTB allocated $10.6 billion to statewide transit projects. This year, the funding can only go so far.
"The reality is that our transportation dollars are strained. They are strained with limitations of the maintenance needs we have throughout Virginia," said Charlie Kilpatrick, CTB chief deputy commissioner.
The public hearing was at the Virginia Department of Transportation's Fairfax headquarters, and is one of nine being conducted across the Commonwealth.
"Significant state assistance will be needed to transform Tysons Corner from a suburban office development to a transit-oriented, mixed-use area that continues to provide significant revenues to the Commonwealth well into the future," said Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova to the CTB.
"While the Board appreciates the General Assembly's actions to provide short-term funding for transportation projects during their last session, it is concerned that the CTB has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to transportation projects in rural areas of the state," Bulova said.
While Bulova "appreciated" funding in the 2012-2017 SYIP, additional money is needed for:
- At least $150 million for the Dulles Rail Project - Phase II
- Jones Branch Drive Connector Tysons Corner improvements - $1.2 billion, of which only $22.6 million is funded
- Tysons Metrorail Access Improvements. Route 7 Improvements Reconstruction of the 1-95/Fairfax County Parkway Interchange at Newington.
- Road widening along Rolling and Old Keene Mill Roads
- Funding for the ramp from the 1-395 HOV lanes to Seminary Road, as well as other improvements needed to accommodate the end of the 1-95 HOT lanes near Edsall Road.
- Route 236/Beauregard Street Intersection Improvements.
- Reinstating the $195 million previously agreed to for the bus service portion of the 1-95 HOT Lanes project.
- Funding for design of 1-66/Route 28 interchange improvements.
Northern Virginia Transportation Commission
Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay is a member of the NVTC, and said roughly $180 million is needed for improvements along Interstate 95.
"Our transit funding needs, performance and level of local effort is 12 times that of the rest of the Commonwealth," McKay said, adding that BRAC will continue to challenge the region. "Early news reports of little impact fail to realize we are only at the tip of the iceberg."
Prince William County
Marty Nohe, a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, expressed concern over significant reduction or total elimination of secondary and urban construction funding.
"While the Board has spent over $215 million in bond financing to complete roads that are critical to the transportation network for the citizens of Prince William County as well as the region, we will not be able to continue this investment in the region's infrastructure if the maintenance of these roads becomes the responsibility of local governments without any funding mandates to assist the maintenance," Nohe said.
Nohe outlined these projects as priorities:
- Construction funds for the Route 1/Route 123 Interchange Phase II
- Construct Route 234 North Bypass from I-66 to Loudoun County Line
- Widening of Route 1
- Extension of I-95 HOV lanes from Route 234 into Stafford County
- Route 28 bypass (Tri-county Parkway)/ Route 28 (Centreville Road) improvements
- Widening of Route 28 between Manassas and Linton Hall Road
"Only a few months ago, Loudoun County held a joint public hearing with VDOT for the FY12-FY18 Secondary Road Six-Year Plan, which identified $0 in new funding for secondary roads," said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors member Kelly Burk. "The Governor and his administration must fulfill their promise to develop a long-term transportation funding strategy."
- Construction funds to widen the Dulles Loop Road (Route 606)
- Construction funds for the Route 15 Village of Lucketts and the Route 9 Town of Hillsboro traffic calming projects
- Improvements to the Route 287 corridor
- Interchanges at the intersections of Route 7 and Battlefield Parkway, Route 50 and Route 606, and Route 7 and Route 690 in Purceville
Town of Leesburg
The reduction of State funds on local roadway improvements would save the Commonwealth, but not save in road maintenance costs, said Calvin Grow, a transportation engineer for the Town of Leesburg.
"It merely shifts the burdens to localities," Grow said. "The Town of Leesburg would see an annual loss of $716,892 in state funding for road maintenance. This amount translates into 1.29 cents on the real estate property tax rate for citizens of Leesburg."
On Oct. 11, the Leesburg Town Council approved a resolution requesting that VDOT fund these projects as part of the SYIP:
- Widen South King Street from Route 621 to the southern corporate limits to accommodate a four lane divided travel way
- Construct Battlefield Parkway from South King Street to Dulles Greenway
- Sycolin Road widening Phase IV
- Widen Evergreen Mill Road to four lanes from South King Street to Battlefield Parkway
The next public hearing is today at the Montgomery County Government Center,
755 Roanoke St., in Christiansburg.