November 26, 2014
To the FCTA board members:
On last Monday evening, Rob Whitfield and I met with Delegate Tom Rust in his office in Herndon, Va. for one hour. As most of you know, he is the Chairman of Transportation in the Va. General Assembly. The purpose of this meeting was to emphasize the FCTA position that we want to see evidence that the additional funding from the recent sales tax increase, grantors tax increase, and transit occupancy tax increase, which is supposed to give Northern Va. 70% of the funds, is being honored. Tom told us that the Northern Va. Transportation Authority (NVTA) is responsible and the fiscal agent for this funding. We again emphasized that we want to see cost effective congestion relief for transportation projects. We also want to see major highway improvements in Fairfax County.
This new funding is supposed to cover major transportation projects. For example, Rt. 28 widening 6 lanes to 8 lanes from the Dulles Toll Road to US Rt. 50 and widening from the Dulles Toll Rd. to Rt. 50 at $20 million. Rt 28 widening 6 lanes to 8 lanes from McLearen Rd. to Dulles Toll Road at $11 million. Improvements to Herndon Parkway at Van Buren St and also Sterling Rd. for $1 million, hot spot improvements for Rt. 28 at $12.4 million, development of a new grade-separated interchange at Edwards Ferry Rd. at Rt. US15 Leesburg Bypass at $40 million, Rt. 28 from Linton Rd. to Fitzwater Drive in Prince William Co. for $28 million, Chain Bridge Rd. widening from Rt. US29/50 to Eaton Place in Fairfax City at $21 million, and other smaller projects.
In the first year, there will be approximately a total $112 million for road improvements in the Northern Va. area which includes our county and Prince William Co. Loudoun Co., and Arlington Co. Then there is $98 million for transit projects such as purchasing new 40 foot buses at $.9 million for Loudoun Co., 10 new buses for WMATA on Northern Va. routes at $7 million, DASH bus expansion at $3.3 million, Innovation Center Metrorail Station at $41 million, nine additional coaches for the VRE railroad at $18 million, VRE Lorton Station additional platform for almost $8 million, turn signal upgrades at $1.2 million, etc. This all totals approximately $210 million for the first year.
Tom gave us a two page handout in tiny print that I can hardly read on all of these projects for the first year. Hopefully, he can provide us a better copy. If I scanned it in, nobody could read it!
The ranking process will be done by VDOT. The NVTA ranking process will be finished by this December. The cost to widen I-66 from the Beltway to US Rt. 15 is estimated between $3 and $4 Billion. Also there will be a facility for mass transit in the middle of I-66. The environmental statement is in the current stage and this information is on the VDOT web page. Fairfax County will have the say so on widening the Fairfax County Parkway (Rt. 286). HB2 requires property to be ranked by congestion for Northern Va. and the Hampton Roads area. Tom also mentioned another large project is to improve the interchange at Rt. 28 and I-66 which is currently a major bottleneck.
Tom will forward all of this in detail sometime after the Thanksgiving weekend. At the beginning of the meeting, I identified myself as a board member of FCTA and informed him that both Rob and I represented FCTA. We need more of these meetings with our representatives. This is an effective way of communicating in my humble opinion. I am sure what I missed in this email, Rob will fill in some more details. Overall, I felt it was a good and beneficial meeting.
Chuck McAndrew, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance board member
Follow-up by Del. Rust:
Chuck, per our meeting Monday I am providing information on transportation projects. (1)For all NVTA projects and other info. go to NVTA.org. Their web site is good(I think)and has all the projects we have funded. The printout I gave to you is from there and is the funded projects. (2)Go to the VDOT web page and you can find the entire 6-Year plan for the state. You can look up projects by location, route number, etc. In the 6-year plan is information about Route 7 which we talked about. Also on the same page go to Megaprojects ,then studies and you will find the info on Route 66 which we also discussed including cross-sections of the proposed improvements. Hope this is helpful. Good seeing you and have a great Thanksgiving.
And on 2014-12-09, after Chuck's letter in the Fx Free Citizen:
Chuck, The NVTA receives 100% of the funds raised in NOVA. It allocates 70% for regional projects like your list and the remaining 30% go to local government members for their use for local projects. Contrary to some of the comments from readers, the NVTA selects the projects, not the state, and Route 7 is in the engineering/planning stage.