The Authority Chooses Wisely for the Most Part
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (the Authority) recently approved its FY 2017 Program that allocates nearly $500 million to 12 projects.
The Authority, tasked with developing a regional transportation plan that makes improvements of regional significance, is required by law to invest regional transportation dollars in those “projects that are expected to provide the greatest congestion reduction relative to the cost of the project.”
For the most part the Authority chose wisely.
Of the projects approved for funding, those that scored high on regional congestion relief and have obvious great regional significance include:
- I-66/Route 28 Interchange upgrade — $300 million
- Route 28 widening (Rt. 29 to Prince William County line) — $5 million
- Route 7 widening — $10 million
- Fairfax County Parkway widening — $10 million
- Metro Blue Line power upgrades — $17.4 million
- Potomac Yard Metrorail Station — $66 million
Two funded projects not only fail to do much to reduce congestion but fall short in terms of rising to regional significance.
- Crystal City Streets/12th Street Transitway — $11.6 million
- Lee Highway Corridor ITS Enhancements — $3 million
It’s not just the dollar amount allocated for these low scoring projects, but the principle and precedent.
While overall the Authority chose well, it would have been better to invest the $15 million in the higher scoring projects or bank it/them until higher scoring projects are ready to go.