Debate over the north-south Bi-County Parkway between Prince William and Loudoun Counties roiled the closing months of the McDonnell administration. Today, plans for that highway, which would have skirted by the Manassas Battlefield, is about as dead as a transportation project can be.
As Inside NoVa, writes, the parkway existed for thirty years as only a line on local and regional transportation planning maps. Now that line is being erased. The Prince William Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to remove it from the county’s long-range comprehensive plan. (The decision still must be approved by the Board of Supervisors, and the road still exists on regional planning maps.)
Real estate interests had promoted the parkway as a way to open up new territory for more intensive residential development and as a spur to the air freight business at Washington Dulles International Airport. Foes argued that the money would be better spent addressing congestion on Northern Virginia’s overloaded transportation arteries, including Interstate 66.
The McAuliffe administration bought the foes’ logic, effectively abandoning the Bi-County Parkway and proposing a massive upgrade, complete with HOT lanes and commuter buses, of I-66. That project, too, has become highly controversial. Thus, one lightning-rod proposal has supplanted another lightning-rod proposal. Whatever its flaws, the I-66 proposal at least addresses problems that exist in the here and now, not some theoretical need that might materialize in the future.
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