Fairfax County finally won approval from the House of Delegates today to expand the county's power to build and maintain roads.
The House passed two measures, already approved by the Senate, that lift a state-imposed ceiling on the county's annual expenditures for roads and give Fairfax the same powers for condemning land exercised by the state highway commission.
The money bill, which allows Fairfax to spend $55 million during any five consecutive years instead of being limited to $10 million each year, ran into trouble earlier after Del. Mary E. Marshall (D-Arlington) labeled it the "great Fairfax County treasury raid."
"It was only in committee for nine days, but for me and many members of my delegation it seemed more like nine months," said Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax) today. Marshall had said the county's road building would increase the state's maintenance obligations, but Watts said most county projects fall into the category of road maintenance or improvement, not new construction, and so will diminish state obligations. The House approved the bill by a vote of 95 to 1.
The condemnation bill was approved 61 to 33, with a number of Fairfax Republicans opposing the measure. They argued the county board, which may condemn land for sewer and projects, should not have the same power for roads. The full House, after nearly killing the measure two days ago, disagreed.