The Bi-County Parkway project, a key component of the Outer Beltway scheme, is on hold… for now.
During his campaign, Governor McAuliffe said he would take a hard-look at the controversial $440 million Bi-County Parkway, reevaluating this project and others proposed by VDOT. In his campaign platform, under the section titled "Pick the right projects; build the best ones," he stated: "We need to strategically prioritize what we’re building and where. We should look at our current and proposed transportation expenditures from top to bottom and support those which should move forward and pull the plug when they don’t make sense."
A list of groups who have opposed the Outer Beltway, and a list of elected officials who have publicly opposed or expressed concern.
*this list is a work in progress. If you would like to add your organization or your name to the elected officials list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org*
VDOT has scheduled two public meetings on the Outer Beltway/Bi-County Parkway. There won't be a public speaking period, but they will be collecting questions and comments. If you cannot attend, I encourage you to submit your comments by email to email@example.com! This email alert was sent out on September 30th, 2013:
Email from November 21, 2013: ….yesterday, we joined with more than a dozen prominent conservation organizations — including the National Wildlife Federation, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club — in submitting a joint letter to Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe. The letter points to the Bi-County Parkway as the project in Northern Virginia that would have the largest negative impact on the environment….
Our proposal, detailed in the report Rethinking the Bi-County Parkway, focuses on fixing east-west routes for commuters, it provides lower impact local road fixes and connections to help local residents, it preserves the Rural Crescent and Transition Area, and could allow for the roads to be closed through the Battlefield (although it’s not clear that would ultimately be necessary, due to the reduced traffic that would result from implementing the alternatives we’ve suggested).
VDOT is pushing to create a new major highway in Northern Virginia referred to (among other names) as the Outer Beltway. PEC’s take? This mega-highway would cut through a National Park, open up over 100,000 acres to residential development, and has the potential to actually increase traffic congestion on I-66 and Rt. 50. The good news is—after years of trying to get more press coverage and citizen engagement on the issue—we may have reached a turning point.
Over the past two years we’ve been writing (and sometimes jumping up and down) about the McDonnell Administration’s prioritization of the multi-billion dollar DC Outer Beltway project. It’s been difficult, however, to get press coverage or widespread citizen engagement, because the project has seemed remote. But that changed this past December, when VDOT finally put a line on the map.
Since then, citizen opposition to the project has mounted. At the end of April, six legislators from Northern Virginia announced their opposition to the project. This Tuesday, Congressman Wolf sent a letter to Governor McDonnell expressing “serious reservations.” This text is from an email alert sent out on May 16th.
Transportation infrastructure is critical to our region and our economy, and yet funding for existing and new roads is limited. PEC and our partners have consistently called for a "Fix it first" approach to ensure that repair and enhancements to existing roads and transit are prioritized. Recently President Obama also sounded the call for the same focus.