The failure of the Virginia General Assembly, particularly the House, to advance any transportation funding measures since 2006 is extremely frustrating, particularly because the a major portion of f that effort was declared unconstitutional. Nevertheless, it is not the end of the story.
Thanks in great measure to the hard work of the Kaine administration, the Beltway HOT lanes, and accompanying sound walls, are moving forward. Also, after much delay by the Bush Administration, the first segment of rail to Dulles is well underway.
And a new land use plan for Tysons will shortly be reviewed by the Fairfax County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. If approved, that effort could significantly reduce congestion in that area by inducing better circulation and more residents (now Tysons is home to 120,000 jobs, but only 17,000 residents).
In addition the Obama administration has provided initial aid to Virginia to advance high speed rail in our major corridors-I-95, I-81-connecting northern Virginia, Tidewater and southwest Virginia.
In Merrifield, progress is noticeable with ride-of-way mostly acquired and utility movement well underway. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors, construction is still on schedule for early next year. Without the additional, funds provided by the Board, however, that would not be possible. When finished, southbound HOT-lanes traffic on the Beltway will be able to exit at Gallows Road, and northbound traffic will have a direct access to a new bridge on Lee Highway.
In the meantime, there are signs that construction on the new Merrifield Town Center will start soon.
To finish the transportation agenda, the Governor has promised to call a special session of the General Assembly. While there has been considerable speculation about the date—possibly this fall-no commitment has been made yet. Government reform and higher education initiatives have also been widely mentioned. While no action has been taken, there seems to be little doubt that the Governor is interested in moving those initiatives forward promptly after the veto session. Stay tuned….
The Governor has a few days left before he must finish his work on the Budget passed by the General Assembly last month. On April 21, the General Assembly will re-convene in Richmond to consider gubernatorial amendments and vetoes of Budget actions and bills.
Delegate Scott represents the 53rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He may be emailed at [email protected]