that the tax referendum battle is over, it's time to
seriously discuss creative alternatives to help move
commuters and encourage economic growth.
new tax money will be on the table. The state is not
going to funnel more money to transportation in the
near term. Changing
the distribution formula through legislation in
will take time.
short-range and long-range strategies are needed.
Here are a few.
should stop spreading its federal transportation
dollars to many projects and concentrate those
dollars on only a few.
When one federal dollar is added to a
transportation project, the total cost of that
project increases by at least 30 percent because of
increased regulations and time-consuming delays.
Focusing federal funds on a few projects will
“free up” state and local funds thus reducing
the costs of the projects where federal money is not
total overall transportation money will remain the
same and roads without federal dollars will be built
more quickly and less expensively.
Greenway, the private toll road from
to Leesburg, should become the “norm” here in
. Tolls are
user fees and not taxes.
The state should encourage private companies
to build new toll roads.
Extra lanes on I-81 are ideal candidates and
companies like Koch are interested.
state and local leaders should actively encourage
public-private partnerships in various congestion
relief projects. The
private sector can be a great addition to solving
specific congestion problems if it is brought to the
table and asked for creative ideas.
open up our current HOV lanes to those willing to
pay a toll to use them.
This makes sense and it costs next to
sensors can determine how many cars are on these
lanes and toll booths can open and close depending
upon the traffic congestion in these corridors.
This can become reality in the matter of a
few months and it will be a moneymaker for the
the private sector to build and operate High
Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes in our congested
idea has been turned down by VDOT in the past but
HOT lanes work in other parts of the country.
We should try them here in
rail from Tysons Corner to Dulles airport in
, and rail projects in other congested corridors in
our state, need to be brought back to the table for
tax money these rail projects require suck up needed
funds from other areas.
A Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), well
thought out and possibly privately funded, should be
brought back for a professionally independent
is a huge financial failure all over the country.
The current projected price per rider for the
Tysons to Dulles project, in excess of $200,000 for
each projected rail rider, is simply outrageous.
A BRT system will cost about 75% less and
should be reconsidered as a realistic rail
don’t we open up the left pull-off emergency lane
on I-95 south of
during rush hour just as is done on Route 66?
This extra lane is built and would
significantly relieve traffic congestion on this
truly nightmare corridor.
Similar ideas would work in other parts of
state and local transportation departments should
design more reversible lanes that can be used during
rush hour. Much
too often, four lanes are built and only two are
used going in one direction during rush hour.
Three of those four lanes could be “open”
during rush hour at little extra cost and move 50%
often do we find inadequate left-turn lanes where
traffic backs up into the main traffic lanes?
Let’s lengthened those lanes and solve
congestion bottlenecks with little cost.
design of the
needs to be brought back to the table.
Why build such an expensive bridge with all
those bells and whistles?
The money currently planned to be poured into
this bridge takes funds from other necessary
a $1 dollar toll on this bridge would pay for it in
about 15 years and the continued toll could be used
to keep the bridge repaired and would help pay for
needed improvements leading to the bridge from both
consider double decking major congested metropolitan
corridors rather than widening existing roads and
causing so much hassle, court cases, time and cost.
technology needs to be a bigger piece of the
solution to our current congestion nightmare.
Former Secretary of Technology, Donald Upson,
has several ideas along these lines that could be
part of an overall traffic relief plan.
And Rosemarie and Ray Pelletier in Leesburg
have all sorts of creative ideas for using
technology and public private partnerships in
helping to relieve congestion.
much can be done to improve our traffic mess if we
stop thinking in the past and begin thinking
many of these ideas are not costly and would help
move people more efficiently.
--November 25, 2002