I was pleased to serve on Governor-Elect McAuliffe’s transportation advisory transition team and on December 12 other members of the team and I reviewed the governor-elect’s transportation plan and made recommendations on how to move forward to fix our Virginia transportation infrastructure. Transportation will be key to our future. Our economy relies on a strong transportation network and job retention and economic growth are linked to a strong transportation infrastructure. That infrastructure is not limited to roads; it includes local and regional transit systems, as well as pedestrian connectivity. Planning is not enough and if we’re to make a dent in our transportation project backlog, we must get projects out of the ground a lot faster—a point I made at the session.
The bi-partisan transition team included subject matter experts in roads, transit, pedestrian, bicycle, space program, ports, and smart growth and Aubrey Layne, the governor-elect’s appointee for State Transportation Secretary, joined us for the discussion. It was interesting and challenging to see how the different pieces of the transportation puzzle fit together. As former chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), I understand our mobility needs and the reality that roads alone can’t solve our transportation problems. (Fortunately, the transportation bill allocates major funds to transit.)
Last year, the first significant bipartisan compromise on transportation in a generation resulted in $1.4 billion-a-year transportation funding for Virginia. This bill came just in time—our funding crisis could have made Virginia ineligible for federal highway matching funds. Not only were those federal dollars at risk, but the state had drained its maintenance funds, obvious from the condition of our roads. Now that these funds have been secured, it’s important that we spend them wisely.
So what does this mean for Northern Virginia and Fairfax County? The most important thing for me is making sure that the funding from the transportation bill gets to our local roads and transit needs as quickly as possible. As chair of Fairfax County Transportation and Legislative Committees, and NVTC Legislative Chair, I’ll be doing everything I can to make that happen.
Supervisor Jeff McKay