Gov.-elect meets with northern Va. commuters

News The Virginian-Pilot January 04, 2006
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Commuters familiar with traffic conditions in northern Virginia recently met with Virginia Gov.-elect Tim Kaine, offering their solutions to ease what seems to be endless gridlock on the streets of suburban Washington, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

Several gathered at George Mason High School offering suggestions for improvements, including widening Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, telecommuting, making better decisions about new development and even trying to bring more civility to the roads, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

“Metro is not a silver bullet,” said Laurie Cole, a member of the Vienna Town Council. “It can’t handle all the development that’s being piled onto it.”

She warned that plans for high-density development at Tysons Corner and the Vienna Metrorail station would overwhelm Metro’s Orange Line, which is already crowded at rush hour, the newspaper reported.

Jonathan Pick of Woodbridge, Va., suggested more affordable housing closer to the city so people would not have to commute long distances to get to work. He said people are moving farther out because they cannot afford to live close to the city.

Another local resident asked about a third lane for hybrid vehicles in the carpool lanes on I-395.

According to Kaine, ideas to improve transportation have varied depending on which region of the state he visits, but almost everyone agrees there is a problem.

Kaine said transportation is the most urgent issue facing Virginia, and “costs keep going up, congestion keeps getting worse.”

Kaine said better land use and transportation planning are essential, as is more accountability from state officials, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

“We have to make sure dollars in the system to serve the public are used to solve this problem,” Kaien said.

Several local leaders were in attendance, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly, the paper reported. He told Kaine the state must provide more resources to local governments, which have raised transit fairs and approved millions of dollars in bonds.

“By 2012, Virginia will only have enough money to maintain existing transit infrastructure, not to construct any new facilities,” Connolly said.

Kaine mostly listened during the meeting. He is expected to present specific proposals in the coming weeks, spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said before the meeting.

Kaine has appeared in northern Virginia as well as southern Virginia, where he says there is a critical need for better infrastructure to lure new jobs. According to the Virginian-Pilot, he also says hurricane evacuation routes are important for the Hampton Roads area.

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Gov.-elect meets with northern Va. commuters | Roads & Bridges


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