Some Northern Virginia members of the state legislature chastised the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday for failing to coordinate efforts to get more road money for the Virginia suburbs. They said they feared that the meeting the supervisors are scheduled to have with Gov. Charles Robb today could jeopardize rather than enhance those efforts.
"Local officials don't carry much weight with state agencies. That's just a fact of life," said State Sen. Adelard Brault, dean of the Northern Virginia delegation.
Brault, a Democrat, said he was "frustated" by the failure of the supervisors to coordinate with the General Assembly members their contacts with Robb.
Supervisor Nancy Falck, Republican from Dranesville, disagreed that the supervisors were out of line in arranging a meeting with the governor.
"We are choking in our own traffic," she said, adding that the state transportation formula needs changing and "I think it's appropriate for elected officials to focus attention" on the problem.
The supervisors voted earlier this month to "demand a meeting with the governor" to express their belief that Fairfax is not getting its fair share of state transportation dollars. Last year Fairfax had 10.7 percent of the population, 11.4 percent of the state vehicle registration and 3.2 percent of the total transportation spending, according to county staff.
Robb agreed to the meeting, which is scheduled for today in Richmond.
Del. Vivian E. Watts, Democrat from Annandale, cautioned the supervisors to learn the fine points of the transportation controversy before the meeting with Robb.
"We want to be awfully sure that we aren't overstating our case. . .so that we do not jeopardize our excellent groundwork," she said.
Supervisor Marie Travesky, Republican of Springfield, struck a conciliatory note, saying that the meeting with the General Assembly members should have been held as soon as the board decided to go see the governor. Travesky agreed with Watts that the issue is very complicated and that today's meeting could backfire.
"I just hope we don't come on so strong that we turn everyone off because we're so impatient," said Travesky.
Brault noted that when Fairfax Board Chairman John F. Herrity, a Republican, recently went down to Richmond to testify before state transportation officials on local highway needs, Herrity was cut off by Highway Commissioner Harold C. King and then received rather coldly when he insisted on continuing.
Brault said that if Herrity had informed the Northern Virginia legislators he planned to testify and had asked one of them to introduce him, he would not have received such a hostile reception.
Brault also lectured the supervisors on how to approach the governor, telling them they have to tone down their style. "We can't be critical of the governor and expect his help," he said.