We urge our elected leaders to do more to reduce and even close the entire gap. We all know that failure to close the entire gap will still mean some service cuts, fare hikes, impact on the workforce, and delays in the capital program. It is disappointing that a state statute has imposed a 50/50 requirement for splitting Virginia’s share of WMATA funding, and that the state is only being asked this year to provide $65 million.
Ask for more sustainable, effective and equitable transportation improvements in NVTA’s 6-Year program of project funding – and less highway and arterial widening that is self-defeating and will fail our greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission’s (NVTC’s) proposed 2024-2025 Work Plan. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive transit-friendly communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the region to grow and prosper, and we appreciate the important work of NVTC.
SMART SCALE’s criteria reflect the broad needs of Virginia communities, not just a simple congestion ranking. As a result, the Commonwealth has seen more cost-effective projects prioritized, regardless of transportation mode and size of project, and that include creative and less expensive alternatives to costly interchanges, reduced demand on our roadways, and more environmentally beneficial results.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth respectfully asks your consideration of these comments as you refine your Carbon Reduction Strategies (CRS) prior to submittal to FHWA next month. These comments build on our October 17 letter to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.
“VDOT’s study is inherently biased because they determine their own conclusion even before doing detailed study. By defining the Purpose to be “extend the express toll lanes,” they are intentionally foreclosing other options,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth submits the following comments on the Preliminary Alternatives and Screening Evaluation presented by VDOT in September 2023 for its 495 Southside Express Lanes study.
“We certainly think there’s a lot of focus on highway road expansion statewide and no focus on climate change impacts with this approach,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
The massacre on our roadways is the result of worsening speeding, larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks with limited visibility, increases in driver impairment and distraction, and roadway design that prioritizes cars’ speed over the lives of the Commonwealth’s residents. The tools to reverse this tragic trend are as simple as sidewalks and pedestrian refuges, but Virginia needs policy and resources to make a change.