State Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) filed a complaint in Fairfax County Circuit Court Thursday charging that the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) failed to adhere to state law when it approved for funding a list of more than 30 transit projects last month.
At the crux of the case, Marshall said, is a Virginia statute that requires the authority to demonstrate how the projects will relieve congestion. With many of the recently-greenlit initiatives, the delegate said, that hasn't been shown.
According to the section of Virginia Code noted in Marshall's suit, the authority “shall give priority to selecting projects that are expected to provide the greatest congestion reduction relative to the cost of the project and shall document this information for each project selected.”
The question, it seems, is whether “shall give priority to” is a mandate.
In a prepared statement, Marshall said the NVTA “has failed to provide adequate and convincing documentation."
"Their bond quality I am reliably advised will be low-grade, high-interest,” Marshall said. “Furthermore, projects that are seriously needed have been ignored while projects that will do little to help relieve major traffic congestion will be funded.”
During its July 24 meeting, NVTA signed off on a list of more than 30 transportation projects carrying a combined $210 million price tag. The projects range from Route 28 widening and an expanded bus fleet to pedestrian walkways and Metro station development.
Marshall said the authority's selections looks like “a pet wish list of NVTA members.”
“Something had to be done to help commuters in Northern Virginia so I am stepping up to do just that,” he said, adding that picking projects allegedly "shovel ready" is not the proper criteria for selection.
An NVTA spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.