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Today's Read: Obama Touts Va. Road Construction

Land of Orange Cones: The president went to Fairfax County to tout spending from his economic stimulus package, using construction on the Fairfax County Parkway extension, which is getting $60 million in stimulus money, as a backdrop. (Ashley Halsey III)

A Northern Virginia commute may take a driver past at least two of the megaprojects now under construction, and perhaps one more of the other major projects. Most of them do not involve federal stimulus money, but some do have large shares of federal funds. Is it worth it?

I think these are the basic issues in answering that ultimate question:
-- Is the project disrupting traffic significantly or is it well managed?
-- Is the ultimate benefit significant? (And is it significant to my commute specifically?)
-- Is the current traffic disruption during the construction phase worth it, because of the ultimate benefit in congestion relief?
-- Would the money have been better spent on another project, or projects? (Any one of the megaproject budgets -- Dulles Rail, HOT lanes, I-95 widening, Telegraph Road interchange -- could have been split up among smaller projects, like intersection improvements.)
-- Is the project going to ease congestion at one point, but add to it somewhere down the line?

By Robert Thomson  |  October 15, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Construction , Driving , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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