August 8, 2002
Leonard "Hobie" Mitchel and J. Kenneth Klinge are the only Gilmore appointees Gov. Mark Warner kept on the 17-member Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).
"You serve at the will of the governor, even if your term is unexpired," Mitchel said.
Mitchel and Klinge both supported the November sales tax referendum for transportation and education that Warner also supported. "I don't particularly like taxes, but this is a dedicated source of revenue for ... transportation improvements " Mitchel said.
In 1998, Mitchel, a South Riding resident, was appointed to a four-year term for one of CTB's urban at-large seats. Warner appointed Mitchel to a second term earlier this month.
Former Gov. Gilmore appointed Alexandria resident Klinge to the Northern Virginia seat in 1998 to finish an incomplete term and re-appointed him in 2000. This month, Warner appointed Klinge, who chairs the Dulles Corridor Task Force, to chair the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA).
The CTB oversees the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the infrastructure related to airports in the state exclusive of the Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles and Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington. The decision-making board, which meets monthly, adopts road and facility standards for interstate, primary and secondary roads, since Virginia is one of four states that maintains public streets including secondary roads. The board decides on policies for transportation systems, including the location and design, procurements and contract awards of VDOT and Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) projects. "Anytime federal money is used on any road or transit projects, those things have to be approved subject to federal guidelines," Mitchel said.
"A big focus is going to be the financial side, making sure we don't spend any more money than we have to on projects and making sure we will do what we said," Mitchel said, explaining that the CTB plans to adopt "real budgets based on project revenues coming forward."
THE NVTA makes transportation decisions specifically related to Northern Virginia. The General Assembly established the Authority during the past legislative session in anticipation of the sales tax referendum. The Authority can authorize bonds using sales tax revenue as a way to fund transportation projects.
"We establish funding priorities for one road over another road," Mitchel said.
A project Mitchel supported was expanding Route 28 from six to eight lanes from Route 7 in Loudoun County to Interstate 66 in Fairfax County and adding 10 interchanges to turn the roadway into a limited-access freeway. Loudoun and Fairfax counties issued a moral obligation bond for the first six interchanges of the project.
"We're pushing very hard to build the Route 28 freeway," said Del. Richard "Dick" Black (R-32nd). "Major roadway projects affecting Loudoun County simply would not happen if it were not for Hobie Mitchel. I was very pleased he was re-appointed to the CTB."
So was Terrie Laycock, assistant county administrator with transportation and special projects.
"He has been open-minded, accessible and very effective in helping Loudoun County meet our diverse transportation needs," Laycock said. "He's been helpful to us on the big issues, working to bring rail to Dulles, ... all the way down to helping us with situations where we may have differences with VDOT, like the placement of four-way stop signs."
MITCHEL CHAIRS the Route 15 Traffic Calming sub-committee, the Route 15 Task Force and the Tri-County Task Force, all sub-committees of the CTB. He is the president of Lansdowne Community Development, LLC and developed Lansdowne, a 2,135-home development that is 10 percent completed. He also developed South Riding, which Toll Brothers later purchased and where he has lived since 1997.
"Transportation and land use need to be compatible," said Mitchel, who has spent the past 25 years in the community planning and building business. "Aesthetics play a big role in transportation systems. ... How do we blend safety with aesthetics to maintain the character that's there now?"
The CTB includes the secretary of transportation who acts as chairman, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, along with 14 citizen members.