To the Editor:
The following open letter is addressed to Supervisor Michael Frey (R–Sully).
First, I appreciate your facilitation of the June 5 meeting with VDOT (Bud Siegel) to discuss the proposed "improvements" to the subject intersection. Special thanks to Mr. Siegel for his professionalism in his exchanges with a challenging group.
As a follow on to the meeting, I look to you to ensure that there are prompt responses to the many questions posed during the meeting. I am specifically seeking clarity on the project funding:
The VDOT website list HSIP funds as source for the project. The intended use for HSIP is "to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads". There is no evidence that this intersection qualifies for HSIP funds with this definition. Please clarify.
It appears that $2 million in funds have been targeted ($1 million from Loudoun County, presumably from gas tax funds and $1 million in state matching funds) plus $500K in engineering. I reference information obtained from the VDOT and CTB websites’ six-year improvement program data. We discussed a figure between $3 million and $4 million. Where will the funding gap come from?
In general, the funding picture is murky at best.
Beyond the funding questions, there is the question of transportation priorities in Fairfax County. This project is not listed in the Fairfax County six-year transportation plan nor is it listed as a priority for the Northern Virginia Regional Authority or Alliance. So how did it suddenly become so and why did Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee suddenly state so at May 29 CTB public meeting (which was subsequently revealed to the BOS at the June 4 BOS meeting)?
I personally am frustrated with the lack of transparency in this project. It appears to me that this project is being rammed down the throats of the residents of western Fairfax County to the benefit of the residents of eastern Loudoun County only. You've heard from your constituents at the June 4 meeting and it is reasonable for us to expect you to protect our interests. Please do so.
It is the opinion of many in western Fairfax that the proposed program will have a severely negative impact on our daily experience. Further, I personally believe that the intersection as is, although not optimal, provides metering of traffic flow though that area where the road system is substandard (Braddock east-west and PV Road north-south do not have shoulders and let’s not forget the S-curve) thus actually providing a safer driving environment.
My suggestion is (and I believe the prudent thing to do is) to stop the process, wait for the Route 50 improvements to be completed (at a cost of $99.9 million?), redo the traffic studies to see if there is still a problem.
Then if it isn't broken, we shouldn't spend scarce taxpayer dollars to fix it.
I anxiously await your reply as it is obvious that this project is on a very fast track.