The NVTA, which oversees the Northern Virginia’s long range transportation plan, last week approved more than $466 million in funding for a dozen transportation projects ranging from widening of roads to enhancements to public transit.
“These projects will continue the Authority’s investments in transportation projects that reduce congestion and increase multimodal transportation options for Northern Virginians,” the authority’s chairman and Prince William County Supervisor Martin E. Nohe (Coles District).
The biggest share of funding– $300 million– will go to improvements to the Route 28/I-66 interchange, a project officials say will help ease congestion and facilitate pedestrian and bicycle connectivity in that portion of Fairfax County. The project will eliminate four stop lights to help reduce congestion on Route 28. New ramps will make for easier access from Route 28 onto I-66, and will allow for direct access to the HOV lanes proposed as part of larger plan for I-66.
Metro will get $17.4 million to upgrade the Metrorail traction power system that supports the Blue Line. The funds will help increase power supply to support the deployment of eight-car trains. Virginia Railway Express will get $2 million for parking expansion at the Manassas Park Station.
The funds are available immediately, officials with the authority said. But because of the size and complexity of some of the projects, they are expected to be spent over several years. The authority distributes funds generated from a dedicated funding stream the state established three years ago based on increases in the sales tax, hotel room tax and grantors tax.
Here is the full list of projects:
For Alexandria, the $66 million will go towards the construction of the new rail stop, which officials say is needed for increasing transportation choices and attracting transit-oriented development.
The project is anticipated to be funded through a variety of sources such as a new tax revenue primarily from development around the station, regional transportation authority grants, developer contributions, and revenue from a special tax district.
Last month the Federal Transit Administration and the National Park Service released a final environmental impact statement on the proposal, one of the last steps the city needed before construction. The Alexandria City Council also approved a rezoning and other critical special use permits to build the Metro stop.
City officials say a package of preliminary design and build specifications could be presented to potential bidders as early as this summer.
“Potomac Yard Metro will be a key part of our region’s transportation system, allowing people to move through the congested Route 1 corridor without getting in their cars,” Mayor Allison Silberberg said in a statement, noting that the Authority’s investment underscores the new station’s “significance not only to Alexandria, but to all of Northern Virginia.”
The Metro station is one of Alexandria’s top transportation priorities and a crucial part of the city’s vision for Potomac Yard, a 295-acre former railroad yard immediately south of the airport and downtown Washington that is being transformed into an urban center.
It is expected to generate billions of dollars in new private-sector investment and accelerate development in an area where growth has taken off with the construction of hundreds of rowhouses and apartments. The resulting development around the station would support 26,000 new jobs and 13,000 new residents, while removing thousands of private vehicles from the congested Route 1 corridor, officials say.