“Without reliable and consistent Transportation funding sources…

…the Capital/Bond program will not be able to complete the priority projects identified in the County’s Strategic Plan.”

That”s the conclusion of the county staff report on Transportation, prepared for the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) budget work session on March 24.

Expect to see reliable and consistent transportation funding over the next 20 years?  Are you still looking for the Easter Bunny too?

Our county supervisors have three choices:

1. Ostrich Option: pretend there is no problem other than a temporary recession.  Don’t make any substantive changes in how we plan for transportation and development.  Just wait it out; we’ll be rich again.

Relax, the General Assembly/Congress will refill the roadbuilding cornucopia.  Money will pour forth for PW County to build the 700 additional lanemiles proposed in the Transportation Chapter of the Comp Plan.

Chill, only blather is required.

(This is also known as the “You Thought Obama Was a Big Spender, But We’ll Show Him How to Create Spendulus Packages and Impose High Taxes on Grandchildren” option.)

2. Fake It Option: reword the Comp Plan to suggest the county is shifting away from building new roads and committed to transit… but make no substantive changes in how we integrate transportation and development plans.  Continue to scatter new growth willy-nilly across the county,while promising, promising, promising to solve the transportation congestion problem.

Do not change the way we do business.  Wait for developers to tell us where to approve new development, then grant approvals with inadequate or even no proffers for mitigation.  Pretend that future “measle spots” of development unrelated to each other will be connected by a hypothetical transit network, so all development equals smart growth.

Upgrade the words used in public meetings, but stick to just blather.

(This is also known as the “Anything Built Within a Mile of a Potential Bus Stop Is Transit-Oriented Development” option.)

3. Get Real Option: break from the past, designate where the county is committed to implementing a transit network, then approve new rezonings only within several blocks of the transit stations.   Accept that existing zoning may be developed at low-density levels, but commit to building high-density town centers in all rezonings.

Identify existing commuter lots and public land at Innovation where government landowners can incentivize town centers right at transit stations.  Ensure such development offers mixed-use buildings and creates realistic walking paths between housing/commercial/retail areas.

Design transit corridors to support new commercial development inside Prince William, rather than encourage perpetual commuting to jobs outside the county.  Define only as many transit corridors as funding can support.

Stop making unrealistic promises to provide bus rapid transit, ferry, or Metrorail services.  Fund and implement high-frequency bus service as well as rail-based transit, to minimize tendency of new residents to increase traffic congestion.

Change the Strategic Plan, change the substance of the Land Use and Transportation chapters in the Comp Plan, change the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and change the blather.

(This is also known as the “Stop Whining About the General Assembly/Congress, and Start Shaping Our Own Destiny” option.)

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