Republican gubernatorial candidate J. Marshall Coleman yesterday called for a revised Virginia transportation policy that promises new highways and rail service for the commuter-clogged Washington suburbs, all without raising taxes or getting increased U.S. aid.
Coleman, the state's attorney general, said he would accomplish his goals by "setting priorities" and "better management of existing resources." He rejected the notion of higher taxes for transportation, saying he has detected "no enthusiasm for a tax increase" and adding that he supports the "long overdue federal budget cuts" that will reduce federal transportation grants.
Coleman, whose strategists see the rapidly growing suburbs of Northern Virginia as a chief battleground in his election campaign against the likely Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb of McLean, pledged to work for the following program at a press conference in Fairfax:
Completing the entire Metro rail system planned for Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria, while endorsing the Reagan administration's plan, which guarantees construction of 75 of the planned 101-mile system.
Expediting construction of the Dulles (which he pronounces Dull-ees) toll road, alongside the existing Dulles Access Road, including a connector from Va. Route 123 to Interstate 66.
Building the long-discussed and controversial Springfield Bypass, linking western Fairfax and Loudoun counties, including Herndon, Reston and Dulles International Airport, with the Capital Beltway.
Conducting a cost-benefit analysis of providing commuter rail service from Manassas through Fairfax's Pohick Valley and from southern Prince William County, to the King Street Metro station in Alexandria.
Coleman also promised to seek legislation for an urban highway district for Northern Virginia, to coordinate plans for Metrorail and bus routes, highway express lanes, and new construction projects. "It doesn't make sense" to have the state highway headquarters for Northern Virginia in rural Culpeper, Coleman said.
A 75-mile Metro system would include the 37 miles already in operation plus 38 additional miles, but the 26 miles to be eliminated likely would include service on the Yellow line from King Street in Alexandria to the Springfield-Franconia section of Fairfax, a distance of about seven miles.
Although Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis has said that the Reagan administration is backing a 75-mile system, he has voiced optimism that the full 101 miles will be completed, a position Coleman adopted yesterday, citing "the need to do more" than 75 miles.
Coleman said his proposal should not be construed as a criticism of the highway program of outgoing GOP Gov. John N. Dalton, who is one of Coleman's more avid supporters. Coleman said Dalton's program was "good and fair" and that Dalton was courageous in going to the legislature for additional taxes of transportation in 1979.
"We cannot and should be repave Virginia," Coleman said, so the key to solving transportation problems, "like every other area of government, will be to set priorities."
Coleman's campaign manager, Anson Franklin, said the importance of Coleman's transportation position paper is that "it is a commitment to get things done." Although it lacks specifics, Franklin said, "when he gets in, he'll find a way.