The Piedmont View

Outer Beltway--One Piece at a Time

Virginia has choices to make. We can use our transportation dollars to invest in our cities, town and neighborhoods, making them great places to live and work. To do this, we need to offer first-class transit options, improve local road networks, and open up east-west routes to solve Northern Virginia’s commuter gridlock. Or, we can squander funds on new highways that ignore existing traffic problems, spread sprawl, and ultimately put more cars on the road. PEC thinks that the McDonnell Administration’s transportation priorities—including the Outer Beltway and the Charlottesville Western Bypass—are taking us in the wrong direction. We need to use our transportation funding to build better communities, not bigger highways.

 

 Outer Beltway through Loudoun and Prince William
 Impact

Spreads sprawl
A vast new ring road around D.C. would dramatically increase development pressure throughout the northern half of Virginia—especially in Loudoun and Prince William, where it would open 200,000-300,000 acres of land to increased development. And it would cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars—a huge share of the transportation funding available for the whole state.

What the McDonnell Administration says

These days, it goes by Western Transportation Corridor and other names, or it gets sold one segment at a time, but plans still add up to a new highway making a huge loop around DC.

What the McDonnell Administration does

Makes it a statewide priority
A year ago, the Administration revived plans for the Outer Beltway by getting the Commonwealth Transportation Board to designate a north-south route around DC as a statewide priority—declaring it a Corridor of Statewide Significance, over the objections of impacted localities, including Loudoun. Recently, the Administration has continued its push for an Outer Beltway by sending the Deputy Secretary of Transportation to Loudoun to promote it.

The latest in Loudoun

From local streets to six-lane highways
Since plans for the Outer Beltway have been defeated so many times, proponents seem to be trying to get it built one segment at a time. A recent push to six-lane Belmont Ridge Road and Northstar Boulevard in Loudoun—turning local roads into uncrossable, fast-moving highways—could play a part. On May 2, the Board voted to change the local Transportation Plan, slating Northstar Boulevard to go from two to six lanes, although Belmont Ridge is still planned for four lanes, in the short term.

 

    This article was featured in our Summer 2012 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View

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