Infrastructure and Transportation
2013 Legislative Session Outcome Overview on Transportation
- Secure new, sustainable, reliable, long-term regional and statewide transportation funding to meet our critical transportation construction and maintenance needs.
- Secure additional state funding to support completion of the Dulles Corridor Rail Project in order to minimize the impact of increasing tolls for Dulles Toll Road users and ensure that one of the Commonwealth’s major economic development drivers remains affordably accessible.
DRCC worked aggressively throughout the session to support passage of a transportation package that would achieve the top two priorities, maintaining a focus on the outcomes more so than on how to achieve those outcomes. At the conclusion of the session, a bipartisan consensus transportation package was passed by both bodies with strong support from the Governor that addresses the priorities above and accomplishes the following:
- Generates sufficient revenue to address the transportation construction and infrastructure needs at the state level, as well as in the two most congested regions of the Commonwealth;
- Provides a dynamic funding source for transportation that grows with the economy;
- Attempts to tap revenue from sources that have a nexus to transportation system uses, as possible;
- Eliminates the maintenance-construction cross-over challenge;
- Provides a dedicated funding source for Mass Transit and the Intercity Passenger Rail Fund – it is important to note that this includes $300 million in additional state funding that will be dedicated to Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail project; and
- Reflects a compromise on the use of existing General Funds for transportation.
It is also important to note that the Secretary of Transportation is committed to using $87 million of these new funds to redesign the I-66/Route 28 intersection, and widen Route 606 west of Dulles Airport. These are the two largest unfunded projects in the greater Dulles/Loudoun area at this time.
Beyond the transportation funding legislation, DRCC also worked actively to oppose a series of bills that would have harmed Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act and discouraged private sector entities from investing in Virginia’s transportation infrastructure. Maintaining P3s as a tool in Virginia is critical, particularly given our significant transportation funding shortfalls. We were very pleased none of these bills advanced this session.
2013 Policy Position
DRCC applauds the Governor, as well as leaders on both sides of the political aisle and in both houses, for making transportation a top priority this session.
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce (DRCC) believes that efforts to secure new, sustainable, reliable, long-term regional and statewide transportation funding to meet our critical transportation construction and maintenance needs is a top priority. DRCC also supports protecting the funds within the Transportation Trust Fund, encouraging public-private partnership projects, and continuing to identify ways to increase the use of technology and improve efficiencies within our transportation system, which are all components of the Governor’s proposed transportation package. Given the tremendous transportation needs that face the Commonwealth and the fact that transportation funding is a core government service that is the state’s responsibility to fund, DRCC also supports the use of some General Fund money for transportation purposes.
In addition, DRCC strongly supports completion of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to Washington Dulles International Airport and eastern Loudoun County, and securing additional state funding to reduce projected toll increase levels associated with the project, which this package would enable through the additional $300 million in state funding for Dulles Rail referenced in the Governor’s plan. This type of additional state investment is critical to the long-term economic development sustainability for the entire Commonwealth as well as reducing the burden Dulles Toll Road users will pay for Phase 2 of this infrastructure project.
It is critical to understand that new transportation infrastructure is an investment, not a cost, and historically Commonwealth spending on cost effective transportation projects, such as the Fairfax County Parkway, Route 28 and I-66 widening in northern Virginia, has yielded a direct return in new economic activity and tax revenues that greatly exceed Virginia’s initial investment. It is equally important to understand that failure to invest more in transportation will result in economic decline.
DRCC believes the time to address this challenge is now and stands firm in its commitment to consider and support this and other proposals that take significant steps toward addressing these needs, which impact our economic opportunity, ability to create and retain jobs, and overall quality of life for Virginia’s citizens.
2012 Policy Position
Completion of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to Washington Dulles International Airport and eastern Loudoun County, and securing additional federal, state and private-sector funding to reduce projected toll increase levels associated with the project is a top priority to the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce (DRCC). DRCC also continues to strongly support efforts to secure new, sustainable, long-term regional and statewide transportation funding to meet our critical transportation construction and maintenance needs.
Update January 2011
A Bipartisan Coalition is introducing Governor McDonnell's Omnibus Transportation Bill, which includes money for area projects including I-66 Gainesville, Rolling Road, Fairfax; Routes 7 and 28; HOV/HOT Lanes; and Metro. Read more.
2010 Policy Position
The Dulles Regional Chamber supports managed, thoughtful growth in the Dulles Region. This includes meaningful dialogue between Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, and between them and the Commonwealth, to provide support for well planned commercial growth and development that will bring additional resources to the Dulles Region to help address the infrastructure challenges we face. The Chamber supports use of public-private partnerships and other creative initiatives to encourage the availability of resources to invest in critical infrastructure, including schools, transportation, technology, parks and recreational facilities, and public safety, to meet the needs of today’s businesses and residents.
The Dulles Regional Chamber assigns top priority to securing new, sustainable regional and statewide transportation funding To that end, restoring regional funding (without prejudice) and addressing the Commonwealth’s growing statewide maintenance deficit should be a major priority of the 2010 General Assembly session. Responsibility for enacting new regional funding rests with the General Assembly, not local governments.
To better direct transportation allocations, the Chamber supports development of a performance-based statewide transportation plan focused on existing and new corridors of statewide and regional significance. Such a plan should include a short list of strategic priorities deemed most essential to the Commonwealth’s long-term prosperity, safety, security and quality of life.
The Chamber supports continued reforms within the Virginia Department of Transportation and use of public private partnerships, but believes that such initiatives are no substitute for the new funding required to address the growing backlog of unfunded priorities.
At the local/regional level, the Dulles Regional Chamber supports construction of a comprehensive transportation grid. The Chamber urges the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to be regional in its approach above all else, to establish regional priorities based upon performance-based criteria and to select Technical Advisory Committee members with strong professional credentials and regional perspectives. The Chamber further urges the Authority to leverage and invest new local, regional and state revenues in regional solutions that move the most people in the most cost-effective manner. The Chamber supports use of debt financing at the state, regional and local levels, accompanied by a dedicated revenue source for debt service, as an important tool to invest in transportation infrastructure.
The Chamber also supports more efficient use of current transportation dollars, including a re-examination of the state transportation allocation formula to provide for more emphasis on population, vehicle miles of travel and other congestion standards that would net a more equitable distribution of money for our region. The Chamber opposes using revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The Chamber also endorses requiring the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund to be self-sustaining and supports efforts to prohibit transfer of construction funds from the Transportation Trust Fund to disguise maintenance funding deficiencies
In terms of specific projects, the Dulles Regional Chamber supports:
- Completion of the conversion of Route 28 into an eight-lane limited access freeway between I-66 and Route 7, including completion of projects on Route 28’s access roads;
- Restoration of the Western Transportation Corridor to the County’s Comprehensive Plan and completion of the Draft Environmental Impact Study;
- Upgrading the Route 606 and Route 50 corridors around Dulles Airport, completing a high capacity “Dulles Loop;”
- Expansion of Route 50, and improvements to the collector road network and interchanges in Dulles South area;
- Upgrading Route 7 to a limited access roadway between Leesburg and Tysons Corner, with an emphasis on the Route 7/Route 659 interchange;
- Identification of rights of way for and construction of additional Potomac River crossings;
- Acceleration, including identification of additional funding, for the completion of the Loudoun County Parkway and Tri-County Parkway along the County’s Comprehensive Plan alignment;
- Acceleration of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to Washington Dulles International Airport and eastern Loudoun County and efforts to secure additional federal, state and private-sector funding for the project; and
- Multi-modal access to all the new Dulles Rail stations.
The Dulles Regional Chamber also supports consideration of graduated tolling and other options along the Dulles Greenway in order to determine if there can be increased utilization of that existing transportation corridor and reduced use of alternative, congested routes.
The Dulles Regional Chamber has long supported a sustainable revenue source for transit construction, operation and maintenance needs and urges that a portion of new regional revenues be dedicated for such purpose. We also support local transit to serve the major businesses and job centers in the County and the use of advanced technology and integrated communications, as well as teleworking, to help alleviate traffic congestion.
The Chamber acknowledges the importance of efforts to conserve and ensure the efficient use of energy and fuels. In addition, with regard to the environment, the Chamber believes the greatest reductions in greenhouse gases in the transportation sector will be achieved through the development of higher mileage and alternative fuel vehicles, and supports greater investments in these and other carbon dioxide reducing technologies. The Chamber also supports more intense use of the land to leverage the value of transportation investments to the best extent possible and encourage walkable communities.
The Dulles Regional Chamber recognizes the economic and tourism value of Washington Dulles International Airport. Therefore, the Chamber supports continued infrastructure investment at Washington Dulles International Airport, including the automated airport train system and new security area, construction of one additional runway, and expansion of concourses to provide additional aircraft gates and amenities. Further, the Chamber strongly supports maintaining compatible land uses in the areas surrounding the airport.