October 3, 2012

In their Sept. 30 Local Opinions commentary, “Where’s the plan for Virginia’s roads?,” Virginia politicians Sharon Bulova (D), Corey Stewart (R) and Scott York (R) were right — to a point: Virginia’s General Assembly needs to provide more funding for transportation. I will introduce legislation to do just that in the 2013 session.

But that’s only half the issue. Transportation money must be spent wisely on projects that actually reduce congestion and are synchronized with development and zoning decisions. Local governments in Northern Virginia can do better in this respect.

For example, localities in Northern Virginia support using transportation funds for the Columbia Pike trolley, bike paths and sidewalks where safety is not an issue. Such projects do nearly nothing to improve regional mobility. Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors is divided over whether to study another Potomac River crossing. And Arlington’s board always seems ready to throw legal obstacles in the way of widening Interstate 66 inside the Beltway.

Northern Virginia’s governments need to formulate a regional strategy that identifies the most important congestion-reduction projects, as determined by objective analysis. Knowing that tax dollars would be spent effectively would make it easier for state legislators to come up with the money.

Jim LeMunyon, Fairfax

The writer, a Republican, represents Fairfax and Loudoun counties in the Virginia House of Delegates.