A chart yesterday transposed the actions taken be the Virginia House and Senate on a resolution on construction of an outer bypass highway around Washington. The Senate passed the resolution; the House voted to kill it on Monday. (Published 2/20/91)
RICHMOND, FEB. 18 -- A proposal designed to promote construction of an outer bypass around Washington was killed by the Virginia House of Delegates today.
The state highway department mounted a vigorous campaign to defeat the measure, arguing that the studies it required would be too costly and it would invite legal challenges.
The House killed the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Charles L. Waddell (D-Loudoun), by referring it to the House Appropriations Committee. The resolution will die there because today was the deadline for committee action on pending legislation.
Today's deadline also spelled death for other bills that Northern Virginia officials coveted and disdained.
A much-sought proposal to increase the state's share of lottery proceeds by 5 percent and give the money to localities -- about $40 million a year statewide, including $10.5 million to Northern Virginia -- died when the Senate Finance Committee met for the last time but took no action on it.
Another bill that would have required the state to study the impact of new regulations on private property values died when the Finance Committee deadlocked 6 to 6. Opponents of the bill alleged it was an attempt to weaken regulations protecting the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
Waddell's bypass resolution went through several transformations during the session. It was attacked as damaging to the environment and a bonanza for developers when it was first proposed because it favored a western bypass route over an eastern route that would skirt most of Northern Virginia.
The resolution was rewritten, and many environmental safeguards and development restrictions were inserted. According to Waddell, the final version was backed by virtually all interest groups ranging from environmentalists to developers.
But successful lobbying against the resolution by the Virginia Department of Transportation, Waddell said, "may have set us back a couple of steps. Everyone will be at odds now, and I think grave damage has been done to our ability to get an environmentally sound road in place around the Washington area."
Transportation Secretary John G. Milliken said the department was concerned that the resolution ruled out some routes for a future bypass and "raised the potential for a legal challenge because it would show predisposition prior to a decision" on where the road should go.
In addition, he said, the studies required by the resolution "would be a very expensive undertaking."
Highway officials said the resolution would cost at least $30 million, which Waddell and other supporters heatedly denied.
So far, no money is available to build a bypass, which probably would not be constructed for at least 10 years.
In other action today:An attempt to revive a bill that would allow some jurisdictions -- including Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties -- to elect school boards died when Del. David G. Brickley (D-Woodbridge) tried to tack it on to another bill as an amendment. Speaker A.L. Philpott (D-Henry) ruled that the amendment was not germane to the main bill. The same method was used by Waddell in the Senate to resuscitate a bill that would allow police to stop vehicles and issue tickets to people who are not wearing seat belts. Currently, police can issue those tickets only after stopping vehicles for other infractions. The prime backer of the seat belt proposal is Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D), who cast a tie-breaking vote to send the amendment to the House. The House defeated a bill that would have allowed Prince William and Loudoun counties to set the speed limit on dirt roads at 35 mph instead of the 55 mph limit allowed statewide. The localities wanted the measure, which failed on a 52 to 45 vote, because it would have allowed them to enforce lower speed limits without the expense of posting signs. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on an 11 to 4 vote defeated a bill designed to put an end to unwanted telephone solicitations.
The bill by Del. George W. Grayson (D-Williamsburg) would have allowed people who don't want the calls to give their telephone numbers to the state's consumer affairs agency, which would prohibit telemarketing companies from calling those households.
Staff writer John F. Harris contributed to this report.