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Legislative Alert
Ask the Transportation Board Not to Prioritize a New Beltway!

The 'Outer Beltway' Plan Returns

Insiders Renew Push for Another Beltway Around DC

As I shared earlier this month, the Virginia General Assembly appears poised to approve Governor McDonnell's plan to borrow several billion dollars to put toward new transportation projects. Leaving us with the question -- what exactly is this money going to fund?

The Bait and Switch

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Another beltway would be hugely expensive and open new areas to development, making east to west traffic congestion worse, not better.
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In public, the Governor has offered a list of some 900 road projects that might be funded by the new debt-- a list that does not include a controversial outer beltway project around DC. (this list played a key role in getting Delegates and Senators -- who face reelection this year -- to sign off on the risky borrowing)


However, it looks like the Governor's priorities may have already changed. In a meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) last week, the Governor's Secretary of Transportation and two CTB members announced a renewed effort to prioritize a highway connecting I-95 in Prince William to Rt. 50 in Loudoun.

This massive road, often referred to as the 'Outer Beltway' or 'Western Transportation Corridor', would go from I-95 south of Dumfries to Rt. 50, following the western edge of the Manassas Battlefield (eventually crossing the Potomac River somehow, and connecting to the ICC toll road in Maryland). It's a bad idea that has been repeatedly shot down by citizens and local governments, but the Outer Beltway remains a priority for those who stand to benefit from sprawling growth patterns in Northern Virginia.

During the meeting, the Secretary of Transportation asked the two CTB members when they plan to offer a resolution to make the project a “Corridor of Statewide Significance.” Their response was that the resolution is not quite ready yet, but that they hope it will be by the next CTB meeting in March. Secretary Connaughton, who used to Chair the Prince William Board of Supervisors, then said:

“You guys would never make it on the PW County Board of Supervisors, we live for bushwhacking people.

The extract of this sequence can be accessed online.

The full audio of the CTB meeting can be accessed online (it's the "Meeting Audio" from the Feb 16 meeting, the discussion happens during the last 20% of the recording).

Ask the Transportation Board Not to Prioritize a New Beltway

Construction of an Outer Beltway would encourage increased development in areas which lack the necessary support infrastructure (water, sewer, schools, roads, and other services) --making existing congestion, fiscal and environmental problems worse. The real transportation need in Northern Virginia is for improved east-west connections, not another north-south corridor.

On top of that, the project would siphon money away from projects that citizens of the Commonwealth actually need -- repair, maintenance and enhancements for our aging bridges, roads, and transit systems, and completion of the many local and regional transportation priorities that are needed to ease traffic congestion.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will ultimately decide where to spend the multi-billion dollar transportation bond package. Please take a minute to write to the CTB, ask them not to waste limited funding on a project as destabilizing as the Outer Beltway.

Letter to the Gov and General Assembly

Link to VA Votes Coming Soon!

About Transportation in Loudoun:

In the News

  • Poll: frustration with bridges to nowhere from Congress"People are willing to pay if they have faith they are getting quality," Turner said. "Uncertainty in ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2011, 3:59 AM by Wolfgang Gruen
  • Supervisors Question Road Priorities As Funding Plan Advances
    Posted Feb 7, 2011, 5:14 AM by Wolfgang Gruen
  • VDOT Commissioned Report on Public-Private Mega-Projects Flawed,126,1014,0,html/VDOT-Commissioned-Report-on-Public-Private-Mega-Projects-Flawed
    Posted Feb 4, 2011, 5:28 PM by Wolfgang Gruen
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 74. View more »


Take Action

County transportation plan goes too far, ignores needs

Please see Why Me to see what it means for you.

Sign the petition:

CTP draft entire map from March 2010

The latest CTP draft dcoument!
Official Loudoun County CTP documents here!
Documents of the Land use and Transportation Committee

On Monday, 4/12/2010, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the countywide transportation plan. To those of us who have attempted to study this massive document, it is complex and decidedly user-unfriendly, much like many of the unrealistic road "improvements" it proposes.

The plan was adopted in 1995. Although it was revised for this year, it relies on projected growth figures from Loudoun's unprecedented boom years. The county survived the boom, but at what cost?

The revised plan is overly ambitious and falls short of resolving the transportation woes of communities, especially those in eastern Loudoun. It would widen some roads to six or even eight lanes through residential areas. This would split apart and disintegrate the very fabric of neighborhoods in the name of increased mobility. The plan would also spend scarce taxpayer dollars on north-south highways and roads in the transition zone between rural western Loudoun and suburban eastern Loudoun. Such roads are not needed and would only encourage speculative development and increased taxes to pay for more infrastructure to support even more houses.

Taxpayers need to ask for a better transportation plan, one that would address existing problems and improve the east-west roads used every day by the majority of residents. We need to complete parallel collector roads and interconnections to resolve ever-growing congestion, and we desperately need local roads of a suitable size that would integrate communities and businesses, rather than building behemoth roads that ignore them. This would also mean making crossings safer and more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.

We also need traffic-calming measures, more transit options and more crosswalks that link shopping areas with adjacent residential neighborhoods. We need more and better bus service that provides alternatives to the massive east-west commuter nightmare of one person, one car.

Most of all, we need to use our limited resources creatively and efficiently. We need to think outside the box. Widening roads to increase mobility ultimately creates even more traffic and decreases our quality of life.

Transportation designed innovatively can help create communities worth living in, but we need to consider alternatives to widening roads and building another beltway. We've seen what happens when transportation is not tied to current land use: exponential growth that leaves constant congestion and even more induced traffic that chokes our communities and frustrates everyone. Our supervisors need to take a closer look at the underpinnings of a plan that needs to be brought into the 21st century.

County Links: