From 2008 to last year, real estate and construction companies gave $5.2 million to county and local candidates in Virginia, far more than any other industry, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Since 1999, Buchanan Partners has given $47,975 to Virginia politicians, campaign committees and political groups. Buchanan personally contributed an additional $7,750.
One 2030 member, Gary Garczynski, a Woodbridge home builder, sits on the Commonwealth Transportation Board, an influential body that has backed the Bi-County Parkway as part of a 2011 plan to create a North-South Corridor. Garczynski did not return a call seeking comment.
Critics of Buchanan’s efforts say they believe the 2030 Group was formed not to foster regional leadership but to benefit the members’ companies and resurrect an idea that has been seen before — an outer beltway that would provide a link from Fredericksburg to Dulles and then across the Potomac into Maryland.
Buchanan Partners owns a half-dozen properties on either end of the proposed Bi-County Parkway. Those tracts have the potential for building thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of commercial space.
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) called the project a “developers’ road” and suggested that rather than addressing traffic problems, its purpose was to create an “opening for extensive development which would only create more traffic problems.”
Andrea McGimsey, a former member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, said that proposals like the North-South Corridor are nearly identical to a previous idea under a different name, the Western Transportation Corridor. “The difference now is that they took away local authority,” she said. “How can anyone look at this little piece here and say that’s significant to the state?”
Local leaders of both parties and from nearly every jurisdiction agree with Buchanan about the need for greater regional cooperation in solving the Washington area’s chronic transportation and infrastructure shortages, even if they don’t agree with him.
Buchanan said critics who worry about 2030’s influence should be more concerned about how the region will handle expected growth, given its political divisions. Not building new roads, he argues, is not going to stop people from wanting to live and work in the Washington area; it will just add to the already acute traffic congestion.
“The development is coming because people are moving here and they want to live here,” he said.