Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy New Year! In less than two weeks, I will be joining my colleagues in Richmond for the 2015 General Assembly session. I am looking forward to providing you with updates on our activities and to hearing from you about your priorities and ideas.
As you may be aware, big changes are in store for the I-66 corridor between 1-495 and Haymarket to provide congestion relief and improved safety. Preliminary plans include three regular lanes and two express lanes in each direction, high-frequency bus service with predictable travel times, and direct access between the express lanes and new/expanded commuter lots. The project also preserves the option of expanding Metro to Centreville and beyond in the future. The current plan is for construction to begin in early 2017. As the project website suggests, these improvements will truly transform the I-66 corridor. You can find more details by clicking here.
While improvements are desperately needed, the project will inevitably have significant impacts. It is critical that our community not only understands these potential impacts, but that you have a voice in making decisions that will affect our region for generations to come.
I am pleased to announce that VDOT will host a series of meetings that will go over preliminary plans and project schedules and give the public an opportunity to ask questions and submit both oral and written comments. All meetings will take place from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. with a brief presentation starting at 7:00 p.m. Meeting locations are as follows:
Monday, January 26, 2015
Oakton High School Cafeteria
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Bull Run Elementary School Cafeteria
Thursday, January 29, 2015
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, First Floor
VDOT is also happy to meet with individual homeowner and civic associations. If your community is interested in such a meeting, please contact me and I will be happy to coordinate the arrangements.
Public Private Transportation Partnership Reform
Public-private partnerships, such as the I-495 and I-95 express lanes, have taken on a more prominent role in Virginia's transportation system over the past few years. While this has allowed Virginia to leverage private investment, it has also resulted, at least in my opinion, in some decisions that were not well vetted or in the best interest of the Commonwealth. One recently highlighted example was the proposed expansion and tolling of Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg. This is a sleepy stretch of highway that sees between 6,700 to 16,400 average daily trips. By comparison, the Fairfax County Parkway at Popes Head Road has 71,000 average daily trips. After years of planning and a cost to taxpayers of nearly $300 million, the Route 460 project is on hold without a single inch of new transportation capacity. It is a prime example of what can go wrong when there are not enough checks and balances in the process.
Since the I-66 project is likely to have a public-private component, I was very pleased to see a bi-partisan announcement by Governor McAuliffe and House Appropriations Chair Chris Jones announcing proposed reforms to bring more transparency and accountability to the process. See here for the press release.
Town Hall Meeting
Please mark your calendars for my annual Town Hall meeting with Senator Chap Petersen. The event will take place from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 31st at the Fairfax City Hall.