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    Loudoun transportation projects a priority for McDonnell

    Gov. Bob McDonnell didn’t forget about Loudoun County when he considered his list of high-priority transportation projects across the state, projects he says would benefit from his sweeping legislative proposal to improve Virginia’s roadways.

    Atop McDonnell’s priorities, released Jan. 22, is the massive transportation initiative that hinged largely on one of the most historic votes in Loudoun Board of Supervisors history: the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

    Loudoun’s supervisors voted 5-4 in July 2012 to remain a critical funding partner in the estimated $5.5 billion Dulles Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, often called Rail to Dulles.

    But that wasn’t the only Loudoun-focused project on the governor’s checklist. McDonnell also included the proposed Route 606 enhancements, which the Board of Supervisors designated in 2012 as its top road priority.

    Loudoun Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), the board’s vice chair, said Wednesday he was especially pleased to see Rail to Dulles topping the list.  The governor is pushing for $300 million in new transportation revenues to be directed to the Rail to Dulles project. This is in addition to the $150 million the state has already pledged to the second phase of the project.

    That, paired with Route 606, known to some as the “Dulles loop,” essentially reaffirms the board’s view that those are the two most significant projects for the future of Loudoun County, Williams agreed.

    “We have many projects here in Loudoun that need to be funded by the state. So I’m glad the governor sees that,” he said.

    Williams’ colleague, Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), said in late 2012 the vastly overcrowded Route 606 is essential for residents in his district to connect with the Dulles Greenway and Route 28.

    “And it will only get worse unless we widen it and improve the intersection at Route 50,” Letourneau said. “An improved 606 will also help attract businesses around Dulles airport which is good for our commercial tax base and the long term viability of airport-related industries and the airport itself.”

    Also among the Republican governor’s priorities is the interchange at I-66 and Route 28. While in Fairfax County, that interchange sees substantial use by Loudoun commuters.

    McDonnell’s plan, which he’s dubbed “Virginia’s Road to the Future,” includes eliminating the state’s 17.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax and increasing Virginia’s sales and use tax nearly one percent. McDonnell held press conferences across the state Thursday to tout and seek support for the proposal.

    The governor’s office says “Virginia’s Road to the Future,” if adopted by the state legislature, would provide more than $3.1 billion in transportation funding for the commonwealth over the next five years, including $1.8 billion for new construction, ending the state’s crossover dilemma, in which money meant for construction is currently diverted to simple maintenance.

    The transportation pitch would also increase the vehicle registration fee by $15, with the revenue going toward intercity passenger rail and transit, and impose a $100 annual fee on alternative fuel vehicles, also to be used for transit.

    “The recommended list of transportation infrastructure projects represents a significant down payment on Virginia’s transportation future,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “Every corner of the Commonwealth will reap the benefits of safer roads, quicker commutes and increased access to public transportation if this plan is adopted. A world-class transportation system is vital to both economic opportunity and to the quality of life of every Virginian.”

    Comments

    One of the most misunderstood aspects of this whole “Road to the Future” or whatever it’s called is the idea that the Silver Line as a transportation project. It is an ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT project which will have no net benefit transportation benefit. The Governor seems to be willing to dump vast amounts into the Metro money hole and pretend this is not just a VA funded stimulous plan. You lose credibility when you play that kind of game.


    Correct me if I missed it, but there is nothing in this plan that will go towards improving the approximately $0.20 on the dollar we get back from Richmond here in Northern VA right? 

    Basically Bob and Co. are going to give the golden goose a few treats and hope it keeps pumping out eggs to be given to the rest of the state for pork barrel projects.  Richmond may end up with a “world class transportation system”, but we’ll just be paying more taxes and sitting in the same traffic up here.


    Registration fees for Metrobus and Metrorail is nothing more then pork. Plus we have a gas tax surprise coming this summer. The current 2.1 gas tax is not enough to cover operating expenses for the Silver Line. The NVTC is looking at a increase in the gas taxjust to cover the MWAA’s demand.

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