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Posted at 1:56 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

What do Va. commuters need?

By Washington Post Editors

Robert Thomson reports on the Dr. Gridlock blog that TRIP, a research and advocacy group sponsored by insurance companies, transportation businesses, labor unions and others interested in building the transportation system, released a list today showing transportation projects it says Virginia needs to prosper.

Release of the report follows a string of announcements and discussions about what projects the commonwealth needs tackle to over the next several decades. On Monday, a research group released a chilling look at how much still must be done to handle the commuters who will head to Fort Belvoir, the Mark Center and other spots across the region that are part of the military's base relocation program.

Last week, Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton renewed a debate over the future of I-95 when he announced that Virginia plans to build High Occupancy Toll lanes along the Interstate, stopping just north of the Capital Beltway.

Read the entire post at the Dr. Gridlock blog.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 8, 2011; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Transportation  | Tags:  BRAC, base realignment and closure, transportation, virginia transportation  
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How about expanding metro lines. Run another line down the 395 corridor and extend the line that ends in Springfield onward to Belvoir and Dale City.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 8, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The Metrorail system is already overcrowded. Extending rail lines farther out would only make the system more crowded in the central core. (Unfortunately, the 2-track system design is a major limitation on system capacity, and precludes running express trains.)

Moreover, rail lines are extraordinarily expensive. And WMATA has proven to be remarkably incompetent in running even the current system.

The region needs more express bus lines, which can be implemented more quickly, and move large numbers of people (at reasonable cost). Given WMATA's dismal track record, new bus service should be run by operators OTHER than WMATA.

The region also needs highway improvements, to facilitate expanded bus service (with minimal stops) and to relieve existing chokepoints for all motorists. The proposed I-95 HOT lanes will help; and the I-395 HOT lanes project should be revived.

Posted by: jrmil | February 8, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

What do Va. commuters need?

Something better to read enroute than the Washington Post..

Posted by: flintston | February 8, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Expanding Metro without first fixing Metro (new management, new structure, accountability, etc., etc., etc.) is just dumping money down the crapper.

The best thing to do in the immediate term is to stop artificially obstructing traffic. Get rid of the tolls on the Toll Road, raise the speed limits to the 85th percentile speed, permanently open the red-X lanes on 66, open up the Dulles Access Road to all traffic, and open up the HOV lanes to all traffic.

These things buy us a little bit of immediate capacity, improve overall flow (for everybody, admittedly at the expense of today's HOV drivers), and reduce overall emissions by reducing stop-and-go and reducing average travel time for the majority of commuters.

Then, while the band-aid is being applied, widen the roads, expand VRE (which seems to be properly operated), add light rail and express bus service in places where it makes sense, and actually have an eye toward the FUTURE.

Right now, we're twenty years behind the curve. It's going to take inventive thinking (and lots of dollars) to get caught up. And HOT lanes aren't inventive, they're just another way for the state to gouge us. Instead of HOT lanes, how about a 20% reduction in highway funding redistribution from NoVA to the rural south that doesn't really need it (at least not as urgently as we do up here)?

Posted by: scott_bradford | February 8, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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