Where Will Va. Transportation Money Go?
Now that the Virginia state government has decided where the transportation money will come from, let's talk about where it will go.
On Wednesday, the General Assembly approved Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's amendments to House Bill 3202, the one sponsored by House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). That bill will empower the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, chaired by Chris Zimmerman of the Arlington County Board, to spend money on roads, rails, buses, bikeways and paths.
The transporation authority has 16 members: the mayors or chairmen of the nine Northern Virginia cities and counties that are members of the authority; two members of the House of Delegates appointed by the House speaker; one senator; and two Northern Virginia citizens appointed by the governor. The authority embraces Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.
If those nine jurisdictions approve the transportation taxes and fees authorized by the legislature yesterday, the authority, which was created in 2002, will actually be able to spend money on transportation improvements.
That means it's time to pull down a copy of TransAction2030, which until this point was a nice idea about what Northern Virginia could build or buy if it had the money. (Click here to download the 230 page, 20 MB document.)
The plan, published last year and endorsed by the authority, was the best effort yet to relate a list of projects and purchases to what people will need to get around Northern Virginia during the next couple of decades. Still, no transportation plan is pure logic. There always will be political compromises. We've seen that on the Metro transit board over the years: I won't block your jurisdiction's pet project if you won't block mine.
Northern Virginians have something to look forward to today, but I'm glad the transportation planners didn't get all the money that some were looking for. Now, they will have to make some hard choices about where to spend the money. If they can't have anything, they may be forced to go for what travelers really need to stay mobile.
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