This text is from an email alert we sent out on May 16th, 2013:
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 road project will have far-flung impacts — wasting limited state resources, enabling sprawl and harming existing communities and the environment along the way. We’ve created a new letter-writing campaign that will email your federal and state elected officials. Take a moment to write!
The Project Doesn’t Add Up
We need to prioritize improvements that will make the most difference to people who are stuck in traffic today. The Outer Beltway is not a good use of transportation dollars, because:
- It doesn’t address our overwhelmingly east-west traffic problems, and there are better ways to ease traffic going north-south.
- It would cost at least $1 billion according to VDOT, and the associated connector roads to the west side of Dulles could cost another $500 million or more.
- It would spark higher levels of residential development within the Prince William Rural Crescent and the Loudoun rural Transition Area, adding more traffic to already congested commuter routes I-66 and Rt. 50.
A Few Ideas That Make More Sense
This is not a situation where we have to choose between the Outer Beltway or nothing. There are lots of alternative transportation solutions that have been long-promised and would improve traffic flow right away. Things like:
- Improving the interchange at Braddock Road and Rt 28
- Expanding the interchange at I-66 and Rt. 28
- Extending VRE to Gainesville and Metrorail to Centreville
- Targeted use of roundabouts to keep people from sitting at key intersections in Loudoun and Prince William.
Just to name a few… We’ve listed out these and other alternative transportation solutions in more detail on our website: pecva.org/outerbeltway, and would welcome your feedback.
I’d like to personally thank the six Virginia State Delegates and Senators, as well as Congressman Wolf, for stepping up as leaders on this issue. Please add your voice to the list of citizens who demand smarter, more effective transportation solutions going forward.
In other news, VDOT has announced a Public Information Session on the project on Monday, June 3rd in Manassas. There’s also a meeting about the Dulles Access Road alternatives on Thursday, June 13th in Ashburn. We’ve posted more information on our Outer Beltway page.
Chris Miller, President
The Piedmont Environmental Council