NVTA 2023 Annual Meeting comments

January 12, 2023

Hon. Phyllis Randall
Northern Virginia Transportation Authority
3040 Williams Dr
Suite 200
Fairfax, VA 22031

Re: NVTA Annual Meeting comments 

Chair Randall and Board members:

The Coalition for Smarter Growth appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to NVTA for the new year.

First, what can we learn from 2022?

  • Traffic fatalities in Northern Virginia continue to go up, and are almost 50% higher than in 2019. In Fairfax alone, 30 pedestrians were killed.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions continue to go up. And we know from many studies that electric vehicles are not enough to bring our transportation emissions to safe levels. 
  • The average cost of a new car is $50,000 and gas prices will continue to fluctuate.

There were some bright spots:

  • The Silver Line opened in Loudoun County.
  • NVTA funded some great projects like the Richmond Highway BRT, complete streets in Falls Church and Herndon, and a new entrance to the Ballston Metro.
  • Promising new approaches were put forward – NVTA’s Technology Strategic Plan and its proposed regional BRT network.

But 2030 is approaching fast – we have to meet critical goals for building most of our housing close to walkable job centers and transit and for rapidly lowering our climate pollution. We can’t get there under the status quo approach. Future generations of Northern Virginians are counting on you. 

In 2023, we ask you to seize this opportunity:

  • Fund NVTA’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit network study, and coordinate with NVTC and WMATA on their important regional bus studies;
  • Rethink the projects you submit for the next NVTA Six-Year Funding Program based on the agency’s core values of Equity, Sustainability, and Safety; 
  • For TPB’s Visualize 2050 process, TPB is requiring that member agencies – which include NVTA members – review and reprioritize their lists of long-term projects for the updated long-range plan. Projects must show consistency with the regional goals that you and other TPB members adopted. Those policies and the vision in Region Forward seek a more affordable, sustainable, accessible and less car-dependent region; and 
  • Implement your Technology Strategic Plan that provides smarter ways to address congestion

Thank you, 

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director

Sonya Breehey
Northern VA Organizer

Bill Pugh
Senior Policy Fellow