Tough Road Ahead for Vienna Roads...
This afternoon, I presented HB 1124, before the Transportation Committee.Â My bill would have increased by 20%Â the state's portion ofÂ funding to towns or citiesÂ for their road maintenance if these localÂ roadsÂ handleÂ 20% moreÂ average daily traffic volume than the average for the rest of the state.Â ThisÂ was myÂ effort to allocate state funds to the roads that needÂ the maintenance the most, and not to treat all roads the same, as theÂ Commonwealth currently funds these projects.
As a resident of Vienna, IÂ regularly drive along Maple Avenue, which is the main road in the Town.Â It alsoÂ connects Route 123 from Fairfax to theÂ southwestÂ and Tysons to the northeast.Â With all the current construction going on in Tysons and the new metrorail stations opening there in a few years, it is obvious that Maple Avenue will continue to take on more and more traffic.Â
I know that there areÂ many other roads like Maple Avenue throughout Northern Virginia that are in dire need of maintenance and repair.Â As a Dillon Rule state, it isÂ the Commonwealth's responsibility to pay for roads.Â Â WhileÂ local governmentsÂ shareÂ a portionsÂ of funds for road repairs, the budgets ofÂ towns like Vienna and counties like Fairfax are simply insufficient to fully fund these roads' maintenance costs.
Although I argued to the Committee thatÂ my bill would not cost the state anyÂ additional moneys because we're simply redistributing the funds, myÂ bill was neverthelessÂ "tabled" or killedÂ by the committee.Â The members who opposed my bill argued that (1) my bill would require VDOT to take on additional duties they do not already do, which would be to determine the average daily traffic volume for roads, and (2) the funds to pay for roads in Northern Virginia would take funds away from the other parts of the Commonwealth.
As for point (1), I think VDOT should be able to conduct this analysis since they already have so much data about roads and traffic volume, and with technology, it should not be difficult to develop software that will track road usage on a daily basis.Â I will now seekÂ a way toÂ have VDOTÂ conduct these important analysis so this doesn't become another excuse in the future.
As for point (2), this regional battle continues to be the toughest barrier for achieving aÂ comprehensive transportation solution for Virginia.Â Â My colleagues in other parts of the Commonwealth need to recognize that Northern Virginia is and will remain the economic driver of the state and that our transportation needs affect our ability to attract new businesses and jobs to Virginia.Â Northern Virginia's success ultimately benefits every corner of the Commonwealth.Â This is the ongoing debate in Richmond, and as long as this regional divide remains a problem for Northern Virginia, I will continue to fight for our fair share of state funds.
I want to thank four ofÂ my colleagues on the Transportation Committee who voted to support my bill.Â In particular, I want toÂ recognize my friend and fellow freshman Delegate Barbara Comstock who represents the bordering 34th District.Â As a Republican, Delegate Comstock crossed theÂ party line to support me, and I appreciate herÂ standing up for Northern Virginia on this vote.
To read my bill and vote count, check: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+sum+HB1124