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Highway Transit Service to Get $1M

An expenditure of $1 million was approved Monday by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to partially fund the Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative.

Half the funds will come from county coffers and half from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Revenue Sharing Funds. "We finally got some funds for improvements to Route 1 to actually do something to make the highway much safer," said Lee District supervisor Dana Kauffman (D).

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin recommended the Board approve a resolution designating a maximum of $500,000 in FY ‘04 VDOT Revenue Sharing Program Funds and $500,000 in matching funds from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) for the initiative.

It was necessary for the Board to act on Monday because VDOT needed a response no later than March 28. The Revenue Sharing Program provides that VDOT match the county funds as a priority before allocating moneys to its road systems.

The Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative was developed based on a Route 1 Corridor Bus Study that was conducted by NVTC. It is a $45 million program to upgrade transit services and facilities in the Richmond Highway Corridor.

Included in the initiative are new transit centers and park-and-ride lots, upgrading bus stops and crosswalks, increased bus service, and implementing an intelligent transportation system to increase service reliability.

VDOT's Revenue Sharing Program enables counties to designate up to $500,000 in county funds for improvements to their primary and secondary road systems. The state matching funds for FY ‘04 is capped at $15 million statewide.

GOALS OF THE Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative are as follows:

* Increase transit ridership;

* Improve pedestrian safety;

* Improve effectiveness and efficiency of bus operation in the corridor;

* Complement community development and other highway initiatives in the corridor.

Components of the short-term program between now and 2005 include the following:

* Bus service improvement: Streamline routes and better coordinate services; equip Fairfax Connector buses with GPS technology; enable all traffic signals on Richmond Highway to hold green phase and install transponders on buses; install electronic fare-payment equipment on buses encouraging the use of SmartCards;

* Pedestrian and passenger improvements: Improve 20 intersections and corresponding bus stops by installing more crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, pavement markings, signage, develop a median refuge, install bus shelters with benches and trash receptacles, and install street lighting at intersections;

* Develop sidewalks and trails along the entire corridor from the Stafford County Line to the Beltway;

* Develop a multilingual pedestrian safety and transit education program; and

* Create a Transit Center with parking for 1,500 vehicles.