More robust transportation plan on view Wednesday for Virginians


A typical moment on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Virginia’s long-range plan for transportation projects is $4 billion higher than it was before passage of the law that will generate more revenue starting July 1. The $15.4 billion program for fiscal years 2014 through 2019, the six-year time period starting in July, is up for review by the public Wednesday evening at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Fairfax County.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s (R) office announced that the plan now includes more money for construction of the Metro Silver Line out through Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, the interchange improvements at Interstate 66 and Route 28 and development of Route 606 on the west side of Dulles Airport. The improvement of the interchange, a longtime trouble spot, is a popular program. The Silver Line money should ease the burden that would have been borne by drivers on the Dulles Toll Road. The Route 606 plan is opposed by homeowners who say it will bring too much development to areas now largely rural. [The homeowner concern is to the west of Route 606, in the Brambleton community, and concerns a proposal to add access to Dulles Airport via a route known as Alternative 2, not the Route 606 widening itself. The Route 606 widening is on Loudoun County's priority list.]

The Northern Virginia hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the VDOT District Office, 4975 Alliance Dr. There are 551 projects of all sorts designated for Northern Virginia. See the Northern Virginia portion of the six-year plan.

The six-year plan gets updated each year, and encompasses projects in various stages of planning, engineering and construction. In June, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approves it, and the cycle of updating, review and adoption starts all over again.

The new law also sets up a Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Fund, to receive a portion of state transportation revenue for spending in the D.C. suburbs. Thirty percent goes to the local governments in the region. The remaining 70 percent is to be spent on regional projects approved by the transportation authority.

The authority, composed of local government leaders and representatives selected by the General Assembly and governor, has a list of proposed projects for fiscal year 2014 and a six-year plan.

The authority has scheduled a public hearing on the fiscal year 2014 projects for June 20. It will start with an open house at 5:30 p.m., at Fairfax City Hall, 10455 Armstrong St. I plan to write about the authority and the first round of projects for this Sunday’s Commuter page in The Post Metro section.

See also: Northern Virginia expecting big infusion of road building and transit money.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Erica Johnston | May 28, 2013