McDonnell promotes transportation plan in Northern Virginia

February 11, 2013
(Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell urged Northern Virginia residents on Monday to pressure their local representatives to support his transportation plan, saying the measure would bring congestion relief and ease the burden on Dulles Toll Road users.

McDonnell was in full sales mode at the afternoon news conference outside the toll road’s administrative building.

“We are on the brink of having significant success,” he said about his transportation plan. “The time for politics is over. It’s time to get this done.”

McDonnell’s appearance comes just a few days after the Virginia House passed his ambitious transportation plan to replace the gas tax with an increase in the sales tax to pay for roads.

His plan also includes a provision that would direct some of the revenues raised to fund the $5.6 billion Silver Line rail project that will eventually provide a rail link to Washington Dulles International Airport. The first phase of the project, which runs from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue in Reston is slated to open at the end of this year.

Construction of the rail line is managed by the Metropolitan Washington Aiports Authority, which has come under scrutiny for a variety of ethical lapses, including contracting irregularities and nepotism.

But McDonnell, once one of the authority’s harshest critics, has praised MWAA in recent months for putting into place a series of ethics reforms. The governor also has been able to exert more control of the board, having appointed four new members to the 17-member board last year.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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