Commentary: Transportation Improvements Will Bolster Economy

Commentary: Transportation Improvements Will Bolster Economy

Northern Virginia Business Transportation Coalition 2016 policy statement.

We, the undersigned Northern Virginia organizations representing the vast majority of businesses and employees of Northern Virginia’s private sector and nonprofit workforce, believe that a strong, efficient regional transportation network is essential to our region’s future economic competitiveness, security, and quality of life. We believe that unlocking Northern Virginia’s transportation grid requires a strategic regional approach.

We believe that achieving the best solutions to our transportation challenges requires a big picture perspective — regionally as well as statewide. Efforts to constrain, either by law or regulation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s ability to determine the best investments for the state, are counter to the goals set forth in House Bill 2, 2014 legislation designed to address the commonwealth’s congestion reduction and economic development needs.

The focus of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, our region’s designated transportation planning body, should be on the investment of regional, state, federal, and private sector transportation dollars for highway, transit improvements, and intelligent transportation systems that will:

• Move the greatest number of people throughout the region;

• Reduce congestion and travel time between major regional employment centers and communities;

• Increase reliability of the network region-wide while producing the best long-term return on investment;

• Promote regional economic development and growth; and

• Enhance regional security.

We are concerned that the law requiring the long-term benefits of Northern Virginia’s regional funds be distributed proportionally among jurisdictions impedes the ability of the regional body to address the region’s most critical transportation needs.

We believe that regional transportation funds should be primarily focused and leveraged, where appropriate, with federal, state, and private funds on projects of large-scale regional significance. These include:

• I-66 — construct new lanes and enhance transit from US Route 15/Haymarket to Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.

• New Potomac River Crossing — constructed west of American Legion Bridge.

• American Legion Bridge — add new express/managed lanes in each direction.

• Metro — improve maintenance, operations, safety and rail fleet.

• Bi-County Parkway — construct between I-66/Route 234 Bypass in Prince William County and Route 50 in Loudoun County.

• Route 28 — upgrade to eight lanes.

• Fairfax County Parkway — convert to limited access facility.

• I-395 — convert HOV lanes to express/managed lanes between the Capital Beltway and the 14th Street Bridge.

• Regional Express Bus network — implement in the I-66, I-95, I-395, I-495, Dulles and other major regional corridors.

We support performance-based statewide and regional transportation plans that focus on new and existing corridors of regional and statewide significance, the evaluation of highway and public transit projects utilizing the same criteria, and the prioritization of investments first and foremost on the ability to reduce congestion and improve travel time.

Brian M. Gordon, MPA, Apartment and Office Building Association

Leo J. Titus, Jr. PE, Committee for Dulles

Patricia Nicoson, Dulles Corridor Rail Association

Mark S. Ingrao, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Greater

James C. Dinegar, Greater Washington Board of Trade

Anthony Howard, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce

Virgil Frizzell, Northern Virginia Association of Realtors

Jim Corcoran, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Mark Looney, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance

Lori Y. Lopez, Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce

Pat Dean, Associated Builders and Contractors, VA

James N. Larsen, Dulles Area Transportation Association

Eileen D. Curtis, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce

Nancy-jo Manney, Springfield Chamber of Commerce,

Ken Garrison, Heavy Construction Contractors Association

Martha D. Marks, NAIOP, Northern Virginia Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Jon Lindgren, Northern Virginia Building Industry Association

Bobbie Kilberg, Northern Virginia Technology Council

Deborah Jones, Prince William Chamber of Commerce

Keith Merlin, Washington Airports Task Force

The Northern Virginia Transportation Coalition is a group of chambers of commerce and industry organizations throughout Northern Virginia that share a common belief that greater investment in regional transportation infrastructure is essential to sustained regional prosperity.