The Road to the Wrong Side of Dulles

Some things never change.  Prince William officials remain committed to the concept that traffic congestion will disappear and Class A office buildings will sprout all over the county, as soon as the state/Federal governments send $4 billion to the county so we can build all the roads on our Transportation Plan.

There are so many projects to improve traffic flow within Prince William, and so little funding.  Surprisingly, county officials chose to prioritize a road that will provide just minimal benefits to Prince William residents. 

The supervisors are poised to update the Strategic Plan so Prince William willl “take the leadership role” for extending Route 234 Bypass through the Rural Area to Loudoun, and ultimately to the west side of Dulles.  The design requires a complicated curly cue to get to the airport entrance on the east side, but it’s hard to believe county officials really care about getting people back and forth from Dulles.

In fact, the 234 Bypass extension is designed to bring more commuters from Loudoun onto Interstate 66.  Loudoun developers will reap massive profits from new subdivisions built along the new road.  It requires little imagination to expect proposals to rezone the Rural Area along Pageland Road, to convert every acre between Heritage Hunt and Dominion Valley into more subdivisions. 

VDOT is completing the cultural resources paperwork to permit construction of the 234 Bypass extension, and the governor has empowered the Commonwealth Transportation Board to spend more money “found” in a VDOT audit.  Maybe we’ll sell the ABC stores and send one-time money to VDOT.  

State and county officials are on a final spending spree, not planning for future deficit reductions.  A last gasp of roadbuilding will occur, before VDOT runs completely out of money and has to use all future revenues to maintain the aging infrastructure… unless we raise taxes again.  But why make an extension of 234 Bypass a county priority?

Prince William needs transportation improvements.  Taxpayer money could be used to extend Virginia Railway Express (VRE) to Innovation.  That would improve access for workers; transit would make Innovation more competitive as a site for new businesses.   

However, county/state officials want to build more roads that subsidize new development, rather than improve transportation for current residents.  Some things never change…

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