The Prince William Board of County Supervisors unanimously delayed a vote Tuesday that would have reaffirmed the county’s support for a proposed parkway through Manassas Battlefield land that connects Prince William and Loudoun.
The delay is another in a string of setbacks for the project known as the “Tri-County Parkway,” a road the administration of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) says is vital to the future of one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.
(Virginia Department of Transportation/Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment) - A map of a planned 45-mile highway — including the proposed Tri-County Parkway — from Route 7 in Ashburn, past the west side of Dulles International Airport, down to Dumfries and Interstate 95 in Prince William County.
The 10-mile parkway, which as proposed now runs through just two counties instead of three, would connect Interstate 66 in Prince William to Route 50 in Loudoun. Dozens of residents and a state legislator implored supervisors during its board meeting to hold off on a vote that would have established the county’s funding priorities for state projects, including the parkway.
Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R), a supporter of the road, blasted state officials who oppose the road, saying that those who are against the project need to propose solutions.
“Everyone who is opposed to the road and not offering an alternative is a coward,” Stewart said.
The comments came minutes after Del. Robert G. Marshall (R) joined dozens in voicing opposition to the project.
In an interview, Marshall said of Stewart’s comment: “He should have said it to my face.” He said he has proposed specific solutions, including widening Route 28, that would be cheaper and less damaging.
Residents say they worry about increased traffic and the fact that the parkway would run through a bucolic region with a rich Civil War history. Last week, a state transportation board delayed a vote on the issue after U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) wrote a letter to McDonnell to say that the state’s process lacked transparency and that more public input was needed. Six Republican state legislators announced last month that they oppose the road.
The parkway’s supporters, particularly the business communities in Prince William and Loudoun, say the parkway would create jobs and drive economic development in the area, ease congestion and provide a key connection to Dulles International Airport and between two rapidly growing counties.