This time of year, there is always a lot going on. Two issues that are clearly on my mind are the County budget and the poor conditions of our roads.
While the budget this year is an improvement to the past few years, an underperforming real estate market, uneven job growth, and high office vacancies meant the County needed to close an $85 million shortfall this year. In addition, schools have requested a transfer of over $100 million this year. The Board has been working diligently to assess the efficiency of every County agency through a LOBS (Lines of Business) review, holding budget public hearings, and getting feedback from our community in an effort to balance all of our needs, affordability for the taxpayer, and retention of our AAA Bond rating for superior financial management.
While the budget has been a major focus of mine over the last few months as Budget Committee Chairman, I have also been working diligently to see to the repaving and repairing of roads that for years have been neglected. This year’s winter, which brought us several feet of snow and icy conditions, left our roads in even worse condition.
You don’t have to drive far to see the numerous pot holes popping up on our streets – a number that seems to keep multiplying by the day. As you may know, most roads in Fairfax County are owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a state, not county agency. This includes the maintenance and repaving of our roads. Although VDOT has been out filling potholes as they become a nuisance, those repairs are often only a temporary fix until repaving can be done.
VDOT recently increased its efforts to improve the condition of our roads, committing nearly $300 million of maintenance funds in the last two years to Northern Virginia. Every year, VDOT rates statewide pavement conditions and determines the best treatment to extend pavement life. Pavement condition, ride quality, efficiency of doing entire subdivisions, and traffic volume are all taken into account when they create their paving schedule.
VDOT will be refining and ultimately finalizing the list of roads that will be on the 2016 paving schedule in the coming weeks. Additionally, Delegate Mark Sickles and I met with representatives from VDOT last month to push for more paving in our community and more attention to our roads.
Subdivision repaving is happening comprehensively in areas for cost savings. This means whole neighborhoods are getting done together, not solely based on condition alone. While this is efficient, it can be frustrating since not all the roads in poor condition are going to be fixed in one paving season. Some that may appear to be in worse shape may not happen until next year or later.
To make a request to VDOT for road paving or to report a pothole you may contact them directly by visiting their website at http://www.virginiadot.org/ or calling them at 1-800-FOR-ROAD. Of course, as always, you can also contact my office at 703-971-6262 and we'll be glad to contact VDOT on your behalf.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Active citizens like you are what make Lee District and Fairfax County such a great place to live.