Fairfax Co. Tackles Bond Sale, Bicycle Plan, Other Business

Monday, October 5, 2009; 4:45 PM

Fairfax Approves Sale of $275 Million in Bonds

Fairfax County on Monday approved the sale of $275 million worth of public bonds to take advantage of historically low bond market interest rates.

Staffers called the low interest rates, which stand at less than 3 percent for triple-A rated bonds, an "extraordinary savings opportunity." If sold at the rates compiled by officials late last month, the county could save an estimated $10 million.

The bond money will be used for construction of county facilities and infrastructure, including $155 million for schools. To facilitate the sale, the county eased some of its bond sale restrictions, allowing for shorter maturity terms, the sale of bonds at smaller dollar amounts and the use of negotiated sales instead of solely competitive sales.

The county has had a triple-A bond rating from the country's three major rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch Ratings -- since 1997. It is only one of 23 counties nationwide to hold that distinction.

Fairfax to Look at New Bicycle Plan

In an effort to ease traffic-clogged roadways in Fairfax County, officials are working on a blueprint for county bicycle lanes, including a list of needed road and parking improvements to accommodate two-wheelers.

The Bicycle Master Plan would include bicycles on the list of the county's most-used modes of transportation. Since 2007, Fairfax has tried to make itself more bike-friendly, installing bike racks on all Connector buses, creating a county bicycle map and hiring a bicycle coordinator.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) asked for a county estimate on the number of average daily bicyclers, saying that the additional 40 feet of horizontal right-of-way needed on some paved roads for bicycle lanes was a "pretty expensive investment."

"In an era of precious few resources, we need to spend them in the way that gives us the most benefit," Herrity said.

Last year, higher gas prices temporarily caused an uptick in bicyclers in Northern Virginia, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported, but estimates on how often paved bike lanes and trails are now used are not available.

The bicycle plan would also incorporate a push to get children in Fairfax County to walk to school.

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