Things are really starting to heat up in Loudoun and Prince William counties over the proposed North-South highway that would run 45 miles from Dumfries to Ashburn, basically the length of both counties. On Tuesday night, the Leesburg town council was preparing to vote on a resolution that would oppose building the Bi-County Parkway, when Loudoun Board Chairman Scott York (R) stepped in and urged Leesburg to step off.
Ethan Rothstein of Leesburg Today was there and reported that York sent one of his aides to the council meeting to read a statement. “The chairman asked me to ask you if you support roads,” aide Robin Bartok told the council. “If you oppose this road, then it will appear as if you don’t support roads. I think the [Northern Virginia Transportation Authority] will keep that in mind when allocating its [funding from the recently passed transportation bill].”
Leesburg might also want to “keep in mind” that York is a key member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which is about to receive a funding windfall from the new transportation bill. The authority will distribute 70 percent of the region’s money, and the other 30 percent will be distributed by counties, meaning Loudoun (and York) will decide how much Leesburg gets.
Leesburg is a few miles west of the proposed Bi-County Parkway, and its resolution would not be binding on anyone. But York sent his message anyway. And the council decided not to vote. Instead, they decided to wait until they got a briefing from VDOT and invited Loudoun’s supervisors to come speak before they do vote.
Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd, who had introduced the resolution opposing the Bi-County Parkway, opposed deferring the motion. Rothstein reported that she said, “I don’t think we can honorably represent our citizens if we cower every time somebody threatens us. … I don’t view that as an argument that I can abide by or really put up with. I think our duty is to our residents. I think this major highway is just going to bring tremendous traffic pressure on the Town of Leesburg, and so I have to support the resolution.”
But she was outvoted, and the matter was deferred. Rothstein’s story is here. For more background: