Northern Virginia Transportation Authority approves projects
The NVTA, which is tasked with prioritizing and shelling out funds for regional transportation initiatives, is expecting nearly $200 million in new revenues this year from the landmark transportation reform bill passed by the General Assembly in the 2013 session.
Through House Bill 2313, the legislature approved an additional sales tax and a string of other fee hikes in Northern Virginia localities, the revenues from which will be dedicated to road and transit enhancements.
In Loudoun County, which expects to receive approximately $30 million in new transportation funds this year, the road initiatives include the Belmont Ridge Road upgrades ($20 million requested; $20 million proposed from the NVTA), the interchange on Edwards Ferry Road at the Route 15 Leesburg Bypass ($5 million requested; $1 million proposed), improvements to Route 28 “Hot Spots” ($12.4 million requested; $6.4 million proposed), transit buses ($880,000 requested; $880,000 proposed) and work on the Leesburg park and ride lot ($1 million requested; $1 million proposed).
In addition to approving the first year of projects valued at $116 million, NVTA voted for a project bond package totaling more $93 million.
Carrying some of the largest price tags in the NVTA-approved road projects are the Belmont Ridge enhancements, more than $30 million for Route 28 widening in Fairfax County, $28 million for Route 28 improvements in Prince William County and $12 million for Columbia Pike improvements in Arlington.
In the transit category, the authority pledged $41 million to the Innovation Center Metrorail Station in Fairfax and $19 million for additions to Virginia Railway Express stock.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) serves as the Loudoun representatives on the authority, which is chaired by Marty Nohe, a member of the Prince William Board of Supervisors.
“This is a critical time for the region. We no longer accept that hours spent sitting in traffic or overcrowded trains and buses is acceptable for our residents and businesses,” Nohe said in a prepared statement following the July 24 vote. “Tonight we acted to address one of the greatest threats to our region: Congestion. Congestion impacts all Northern Virginians both economically and from a safety standpoint.”
The final proposed project list was vetted by the NVTA’s Project Implementation Working Group (PIWG), which considered more than 200 public comments received between June 6 and July 22, according to an authority spokesman.