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Virginia Politics
Posted at 04:05 PM ET, 09/19/2011

Connolly and elected leaders to discuss Metro extension to Woodbridge

A panel of growth and transportation experts from the greater Washington region will be in Prince William County on Monday to discuss the possibility of bringing Metro to the community’s eastern end.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and state and local officials will host the Sept 26. meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Harbour View at 13200 Marina Way in Woodbridge. Meeting attendees will have a chance to meet with elected officials before the speaking program begins at 7 p.m.

Panelists for the evening will include Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Executive Director Richard Taube, Metropolitan Washington Council of Government Executive Director David Robertson and John McClain from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.

Local and elected officials have toyed with the idea of bringing Metro to Woodbridge for several years. In January, Connolly reintroduced a bill that would authorize an analysis on and preliminary engineering for the extension of Metro both south of the beltway to Woodbridge and west toward Centreville. The bill has been referred to the subcommittee on highways and transit, according to Connolly’s Web site.

“As our residents confront volatile gas prices and declining home values, particularly in suburbs beyond the Metrorail system, it is vital that we extend Metrorail in the busiest commuting corridors,” Connolly said in a letter to his colleagues in Congress. “ This action is critical to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions while giving commuters more transportation choices.”

Prince William’s overall population grew 40 percent in the last decade, topping more than 400,000 residents. And state and local officials said it has not stopped growing. Connolly said Metro could be a key component to the area’s future infrastructure needs.

Connolly is actively seeking funds for a Metrorail feasibility study, officials with his office said. Prince William’s comprehensive plan also addresses the need to study the extension of Metro to Woodbridge as part of the county’s long-term land-use plan.

“We can either begin this discussion now and have a plan in place to handle the growth that is coming to Prince William County, or we can wait 20 years and regret that we did not act when we had the opportunity, Connolly said.”

Metro is just one of numerous transportation ideas being explored for Prince William’s eastern end. In October, Woodbridge Supervisor Frank J. Principi will host a charrette along with the national Rail-Volution conference happening in the greater Washington region. The Oct. 16 event will be from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Osprey’s Landing on Belmont Bay Drive in Woodbridge.

Community members and business owners are invited to come and discuss transportation strategies for what officials dub the “transit triangle” in North Woodbridge, which runs along the Occoquan River and near the intersection of routes 1 and 123.

Some transit ideas include passenger ferry service along the Potomac River, the addition of High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 95 and bus rapid transit service.

By  |  04:05 PM ET, 09/19/2011

Categories:  Dr. Gridlock, Virginia Politics

 
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