Sunday, March 13, 2011;
Regarding the March 9 Metro article "Assembly session could have been worse, Fairfax says":
First, the statewide list of 900 potential transportation projects mentioned was illustrative only, and this list was not incorporated into any bill as a plan of action. This means Northern Virginia still has ample opportunity to seek funding for more projects for our region. I have already initiated a discussion with the governor and the transportation secretary.
Second, Fairfax County sent a representative to Richmond to oppose a bill I introduced to add "reducing traffic congestion as quickly as possible and reducing the loss of life in the event of a homeland security emergency in the national capital area" as criteria for establishing priorities among proposed transportation projects in Northern Virginia. Although this bill passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote, it was defeated in a Senate committee in part as a result of the testimony of Fairfax's representative, who claimed the bill would limit local flexibility.
Northern Virginia needs to get serious about applying transportation funds to give us the biggest bang for the buck in terms of congestion reduction. Otherwise, the problem won't go away no matter how much money is spent. This is one reason downstate legislators are reluctant to vote for sizable increases in transportation funding for Northern Virginia. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors can help by establishing congestion reduction and regional mobility during another terrorist attack as explicit transportation priorities.
James M. LeMunyon, Fairfax
The writer, a Republican, represents District 67 in the Virginia House of Delegates.