We have been making progress on a number of transportation projects in Northern Virginia. A partial list of key transportation projects in our area is provided below. A complete list of transportation projects can be found at: http://virginiaroads.org/. Real-time snow plowing progress may also be monitored at this website during snowy weather.
VDOT is implementing a law I authored in 2012, H.B. 599, to require that proposed transportation projects in Northern Virginia be rated according to how much traffic congestion is expected to be reduced by each project. In this way, the best rated projects can be funded on a priority basis. This system is also being used by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Evaluations of more than 40 projects have been completed within the last 18 months, with another two dozen projects under review. I have introduced legislation this year to direct VDOT to evaluate the benefits of building two new bridges across the Potomac River upstream and downstream from Washington, D.C.
Since the 2013 sales tax increase, which is dedicated to funding transportation, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has agreed to fund 69 road and transit projects with a financial commitment of $535 million from the 2013 tax. More projects are being considered.
In the process of rating transportation projects, VDOT has estimated that congestion in Northern Virginia totals approximately 900,000 hours of delay each work day. Putting this into perspective, a person who lives 900,000 hours lives to be about 103 years old. Clearly, congestion is costing our region millions of dollars of lost productivity each day — not to mention missed time with family and friends, wasted gasoline, pollution, etc. My goal is to reduce this 900,000 figure as quickly and as cost efficiently as possible with smart transportation solutions.
Widening Route 50 west of Route 28 is now complete. I welcome your comments on the impact of this improved roadway.
I-66 shoulder lanes are now open anytime they are needed between Route 50 and the Beltway. There were some initial problems when this Active Traffic Management (ATM) system became operational in September, but these have been largely (not completely) ironed out. Thank you to the many residents who provided comments on this new system, especially when it first became operational. You may have noticed that the old signs are still in place stating the previous policy that the lanes be opened only at fixed times. They will be corrected. Also, if you encounter moments when the shoulder lanes should be open and are not, please let me know. I will pass this information to VDOT to further improve ATM.
In addition to ATM, additional lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway have been proposed. This includes new express bus service, and expanded and new commuter parking. Two HOV lanes with tolls for non-HOV traffic are included in each direction in the proposal similar to the Beltway Express Lanes. Route 28/I-66 interchange improvements will be part of the I-66 lane expansion.
At the present time, the Secretary of Transportation anticipates that the toll would be collected by a private company that would construct the improvements to I-66, although no final decision will be made until the bids are reviewed from the potential contractors. More information about the status of these plans may be found at outside.transform66.org. In the meantime, I am evaluating the cost estimates for the project, which may approach $2 billion, with a view toward ensuring that Northern Virginia receives its fair share of state tax dollars for this project.
A recent congestion analysis of the plan for I-66 outside the Beltway shows a significant impact in terms of reduced travel times. However, it’s clear that by adding lanes eastbound outside the Beltway but not inside the Beltway, the bottleneck at the Beltway would persist. Reducing congestion outside the Beltway will be limited unless additional lanes are added inside the Beltway.
The Governor and his transportation team have proposed tolling I-66 inside the Beltway during peak periods, but without widening the road for at least several years. The plan, which was proposed in March, calls for solo drivers traveling eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening to pay a toll using an EZ-Pass starting in 2017. Solo drivers are presently prohibited on the road during the peak periods. “HOV-2” vehicles would not pay the toll until 2021. Vehicles with three or more occupants (HOV-3+) would continue to travel toll free. The toll prices would fluctuate based on traffic conditions as they do on the Beltway. Proceeds from the toll would be used to fund transit, bike paths and walkways inside the Beltway.
I-66 inside the Beltway needs more lane capacity now, not years from now. This is essential to removing the eastbound bottleneck outside the Beltway. Revenue from the 2013 transportation tax is available for transit on I-66 (and everywhere else in Northern Virginia), so a toll is not needed to fund transit. Bike paths and walkways should be funded by local governments. I have introduced House Bill 1 to halt plans to create this new toll and send VDOT back to the drawing board to develop a much more ambitious congestion reduction plan for I-66 inside the Beltway. For VDOT’s updates on this project, see inside.transform66.org.
Widening Route 28 to add a lane northbound from McLearen Road to the Dulles Toll Road, and a lane southbound from Sterling Boulevard to Route 50 continues and is expected to be completed in 2017. Separately, widening Route 28 south of I-66 in Centreville is in the planning stage.
The widening of Stringfellow Road was completed last summer. Please note that the speed limit remains 35 m.p.h. I have asked VDOT to review this speed limit and consider increasing it to 40 or 45 m.p.h. If you use this road, I welcome your comments regarding changing the speed limit.
Phase 2 of the Silver Line is now under construction to Dulles Airport and two stops beyond in Loudoun County. It is anticipated that Phase 2 will be completed in 2019 or 2020. This summer, VDOT plans to repair the bridges that cross the Toll Road into Herndon and Reston.
No increase in the Dulles Toll Road toll is expected in 2016.
Work continues to create a roundabout at Braddock and Pleasant Valley Roads adjacent to Cox Farms in western Fairfax County. Work should be completed this summer, weather permitting.
A significant number of streets and roads in the 67th district were repaved in 2015, but more work remains to be done. If you know of a street or road that needs repaving and have not contacted me already, please give me a call or send me an email message.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the House of Delegates. Please feel free to contact me at 703-264-1432 firstname.lastname@example.org any time regarding legislation or issues of interest to you. All calls will forward to my Richmond office.