Fixing I-66 Outside the Beltway. Is There a Greater Regional Transportation Need?
At the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s November meeting some members questioned whether any regional transportation funds should be invested in I-66 outside the Beltway, despite key critical interchanges such as I-66 at Rt. 28 currently being in the Authority’s long-range regional transportation plan.
I-66 is Northern Virginia’s Main Street, providing critical connections between nearly all Northern Virginia localities and used on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of Northern Virginia residents from Loudoun to Arlington and Haymarket to Falls Church. I-66 also ranks as one of the region’s most congested roads.
Improving the I-66 corridor will likely to do more to improve regional mobility than any other project.
Thanks to historic 2013 transportation funding legislation (HB 2313), the Authority receives about $300 million annually in regional funds. The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission receives a little less than $200 million annually.
Hampton Roads has already committed $250 million to widening I-64, which like I-66, is not only an important interstate highway but is also a major daily local route for area commuters, goods and services. Most of Hampton Roads’ future regional dollars are committed to I-64 and eight other projects of greatest regional significance.
Some observers believe Northern Virginia’s I-66 Outside the Beltway project is not financially viable without investment of significant regional funds. Hopefully, in the next few months the Authority will commit the regional funds necessary to allow the urgently needed I-66 outside the Beltway multi-modal improvements to move forward because…