Kalahari and the Politics of Interstate Interchanges

Grab your front-row seats and load up with popcorn. The politics behind a proposed new interchange on Intestate 95 in the Fredericksburg area will be fascinating to watch. The impetus for the project, which could cost an estimated $21 million to $32 million, is the announcement of plans by Kalahari Resorts to build a $200 million indoor water park on 49 acres of the Celebrate Virginia development. Kalahari is expected to open in December 2009.

The Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is conducting a study of the interchange and related toll road to be called the Spotsylvania Greenway. Of the interchange, Matt Kelly, Fredericksburg Councilman and MPO chair, says: “It’s not whether it will happen, it’s how best to do it.”

The Federal Highway Administration requires a study to gauge the impact the interchange would have on traffic patterns over the next 20 years, reports Kelly Hannon with the Free Lance-Star. The obvious question is: Who pays? The Free Lance-Star suggested that state and federal funds are expected to pay for 98 percent of the interchange. The next obvious question is this: If the state and feds are expected to foot the bill, does the project jump to the head of the line, ahead of literally hundreds of other road construction priorities, or does it wait until the other regional priorities have been addressed?

If private real estate interests were paying for an accelerated build-out of the interchange through tolls, a community development authority or some combination thereof, I wouldn’t have any objection to the financing piece of the interchange.

However, any traffic-impact study worth its salt would do more than examine the impact of traffic generated by the waterpark and Celebrate Virginia. It would consider the long-term impact that the interchange would have on development in the vicinity — including nearby subdivisions and shopping centers induced by the addition of an interchange — and the impact that development would have on regional traffic patterns. I don’t take it as a given that even a privately financed interchange would be a good idea — it’s not hard to imagine I-95 getting even more overloaded than it already is, thereby creating new demands upon the Virginia Department of Transportation — although I don’t rule out the possibility either.

Needless to say, various development interests, business interests, local governments and citizens groups will have a lot to say. I expect this proposal to be highly controversial. I’m looking forward to the show.

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31 responses to “Kalahari and the Politics of Interstate Interchanges”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    well I tried to put the map here but no luck so here is the link:


    There is a LOT to say about this but I’ll confine myself to the fact that the new HOT lanes on I-95 are planned to be at this same location.

    Further – if folks take a look at the river that bisects Rt 17 to the North and the existing Route 3 interchange to the south – there has long been a need to “connect” these roads for local traffic.

    The developer has a reputation of being responsible and cooperative, even proactive in planning and building infrastructure – and this is coming from someone who is no fan of many developers.

    And in this case, you don’t have to worry about “induced” traffic because the existing road – Route 3 is already maxed at more than 80,000 vehicles per day.

    The potential toll road (see this link http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/150)

    is a propose parallel road to relieve traffic on Route 3.

    If the HOT lanes, the interchange, and the new TOLL road ever get done – there will be a seamless TOLL path to the still undeveloped portions of Spotsylvania.

    Which means.. that people who might be “induced” to buy a home them.. WILL be paying substantial tolls for that option – which is, if not perfect, a serious attempt at having folks pay their locational costs.

    check out the map links provided to really understand the issue.

  2. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    My first question was, “What the heck is Celebrate Virginia?” I thought it had something to do with stomping grapes or giving gang signs.

    Then I saw that it was a ‘retail resort’. The picture in my mind has changed to one of RV’s at Walmart.

    It’s the only vision I can see when indoor waterparks are combined with old geezer housing.

  3. Anonymous Avatar


    Thank you for the map link.

    The great thing about Google maps is they do not show municipal borders.

    Get your friends together to develop a sustainable settlement pattern for the Greater Fredericksburg Community based on this map and you will not have a market for that part of the Subregion that is not yet developed — and never will be if all the location costs are fairly allocated.

    The toll road link is to a toll road catch-all, do you have a site to a specific article that addresses the toll road alignment?

    Anon Zeus

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Zeus – the actual “conceptual” alignmnent is on a map on the second link provided.

    It is not locked in at all, and, more than a few folks, think this is a figament of imaginations more than an actual R/W line.

    In terms of sustainable settlement patterns – be advised that since 1963 when I-95 was built, the Fredericksburg Area has been a bedroom community par excellence… the bastion of that legendary “affordable suburban home” for the NoVa commuting middle class (who apparently cannot “afford” to live in NoVa but only work there).

    Fredericksburg would love (would kill?) to have 1/10th of the NoVa jobs located locally but not even DOD wants to have jobs there even though a substantial part of their workforce IS there, in fact.

    Many in BR have advocated “more places”. Fredericksburg would just love to be one of them but I’m coming around to the point of view that the ball is in NoVa’s court. As long as they take the jobs and export the workers… businesses, including DOD will take the deal.

  5. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim –

    The problems for Fredericksburg are
    massive relative to the impact of
    this project on that small city.

    The project developer estimates it
    will bring 1 million visitors to
    the site annually. That number may
    reach 2 million visitors in the out

    There is no way that city can handle that traffic load off of
    I-95, even with a new interchange,
    nor the spill over traffic in the
    older parts of the city.

    This venture may generate 1,000 new
    jobs or upwards of 1,900 jobs when
    it is fully operational.

    NVA has a 2.2% unemployment rate. The Fredericksburg PDC 16 has a 4.0% +/- unemployment rate.

    Most of the new jobs will pay $8-$9
    an hour.

    This project will attract new residents to the community to fill
    these jobs, whose impact on the
    town will be major.

    The region has 52,000 commuters many of whom would like to have a
    good job closer to home.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    so .. Rodger… are you recommending NOT taking the project?

  7. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry –

    I do not think it is a good project
    for Fredericksburg because of the traffic issues,
    the creation of more low end wage jobs requiring workers we do not have in the region,
    thus creating another set
    of problems for it and the idea of creating an African themed water park
    next to museum about slavery in a community in which thousands of soldiers died fighting during the Civil War does not appear appropriate to me.

  8. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Rodger, For once, you and I actually agree. I’ve been ragging on the issue of “joblism” — creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs — for a long time. Virginia has the philosophy that expending public funds for road improvements can be justified for “economic development” purposes. If that’s part of the justification in this case, we have to look at the “economic development” impact of the Kalahari project. It would create 1,000 jobs? How much do those jobs pay? The “resort” industry” is not known for paying a lot. It’s one thing if the project would put people to work who do not now have work. It’s quite another if the jobs can be filled only by more people moving into the area, straining already-overloaded public services.

    Now, if Kalahari wants to build a waterpark resort near Fredericksburg, I have no problem — as long as it pays the full locational costs associated with that business decision. On the surface of things — and I’m willing to change my mind with the presentation of additional evidence — I do not see Kalahari as being the kind of economic contributor that would justify public road subsidies.

    If the toll road an interchange construction were totally privately funded, then I might be OK with the project. But I’d still like to see the analysis of the impact of those 1-2 million visitors on the regional road network.

  9. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim, thanks. We do not have the
    workers in Fredericksburg to staff
    this project. Most of the jobs will
    pay entry level wages.

    Thus, the developer will either have to seek workers outside of the region or go abroad, as Busch Gardens does, to find employees. Busch has provided housing for that workforce which comes mostly from Eastern Europe.

    Orlando, Florida has had horrible
    problems with this issue.

    I think the region and state’s
    economic development programs are
    failing Virginia when we encourage
    these projects that generate such
    growth and traffic problems while
    our 52,000 commuters need jobs
    closer to home.

    Part of our problem has to do with
    the state tax code which encourages
    local governments to create projects like Central Park and
    Celebrate Virginia because of the
    favorable revenue stream.

    So we have an economic base in this
    region built on the labor of the
    working poor generating revenue to
    support our local governments, while residents in the area have to
    travel great distances to find work
    that pays a livable wage.

    To put it mildly, I think that is
    bad public policy.

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    I can see the infrastructure issue when talking about new homes for folks that will commute to NoVa.

    NoVa gets the jobs and we get the housing/infrastructure costs plus I-95 and local roads get hammered by commuters.

    But this project is NET MONEY coming from outside the area into the area and further, there is a tremendous ripple effect.

    Right across the road is a large, stand-alone commercial development (Central Park) with more than a hundred restaurants and clothing stores that would surely benefit from out-of-town visitors sprinkling their money on the water park, hotels, restaurants, etc.

    This is all net money coming into Fredericksburg’s coffers helping to provide lower taxes and other benefits including bike/ped trails and a Riverside Park.. etc.

    Not great jobs but jobs for college, high school kids and second/part time jobs for existing residents including many who are on public assistance.. within walking distance of the project.

    This project would not bring in people that needed additional housing. Workers would already live here.

    The land is already zoned for this. The permits for approval are mostly administrative. The battle for what kind of land use was decided when it was zoned resort commercial.

    The developer, Silver, will, more than likely, pay for most if not all of the interchange costs that would fall to the locality normally.

    The “toll road” probaby won’t happen… or if it does.. it would be a separate project that would not affect the interchange issue IMHO.

    I am suprised here guys.

    What other use of this land would be better/preferable?

  11. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry –

    I do not think we know enough about
    the cost of such a massive project
    generating 1 to 2 million visitors
    a year employing upwards of 2,000
    people when fully built out on the
    Fredericksburg community. So this
    is not NET money to that town.

    Taxes are going to go up in the city which has been on spending
    spree in recent years because of
    the increased value of homes, thus
    the tax base, which will fall in
    coming years.

    The project needs a special use
    permit because the proposed 10
    story hotel exceeds the height
    limit in the city zoning code.

    The developer can’t afford the
    interchange nor doing the deals
    of late in Celebrate Virginia
    which have required tax concessions
    to make them work, Wegmans, a
    proposed package for a conference
    center totalintg $2.5 million and
    a yet to be determined amount of
    corporate concessions to this firm.

  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    well.. here’s a reality.

    This is virtually no state road money.

    Many of the newer road projects in the Fredericksburg Area have been funded by developer CDAs – including some of the roads in and around the Celebrate project.

    Without these CDAs, there is virtually no way that the area is going to get new surface street infrastructure.

    We’ll get the HOT lanes.. and we’ll get roads that can be tolled but the surface streets will suffer unless we have businesses that attract folks off of I-95 to spend money… as opposed to raising taxes on local people to pay for these improvements.

    I’d have to see the traffic studies to be convinced that this is a worse outcome than say… a 3000 unit TND developoment that WILL generate 30,000 new cars AND need new schools and new surface streets.

    Now.. if the TND included a Federal Agency.. such that many of the residents could walk to work.. that WOULD BE awesome.. but how can a developer who owns that land make that happen?

    Aren’t they limited to whatever market options and opportunities are available to them?

    (by the way.. I agree with the concern about using tax dollars to subsidize businesses…

  13. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo


    We spent the day at Mt. Vernon.

    The trip up I-95 around mid-day
    this Sunday was bogged down by a
    7 mile backup in Stafford County.
    We used Rt. 1 to get around it
    via the Stafford Airport exit and
    returned to I-95 at Quantico.

    On the return trip home late this afternoon traffic was bumper to bumper with the regular Sunday night traffic jam heading north
    towards Washington, DC.

    The Fredericksburg region is known
    along the East Cost for having one
    of the worst traffic problems on
    I-95 as it meanders through our
    little town and on such arteries
    as Rt. 17 west of I-95 towards the
    massive GEICO facility in Berea.

    Placing a new project off of I-95 in the city that may generate 1 to 2 m visitors annually and require
    a workforce of 1,000 to 2,000 to
    travel to this site is a mistake.

    I would invite you to visit the new
    exhibits and museums at Mt. Vernon
    which are world class.

    I find such new attractions in Virginia far more appealing that an African-themed water park sited next to a planned national museum about slavery.

    Larry, you ought to visit the web
    site for this venture. The design
    and architecture of this facility
    will not be a landmark building for
    our community.

    Quite a contrast to the slavery
    museum project which former Gov.
    Douglas L. Wilder saw the merit in
    recruiting a nationally know team
    to design.

  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I suspect they’re gonna build this water park somewhere along I-95. They see a demographic regional market for what they offer and the only question is where they’re going to put it – along I-95.

    so basically.. the “I-95 can’t handle it argument is not a valid argument unless we start treating all such projects in the same light and I just simply don’t think that – that is in the cards.

    The State is not going to tell this company to go away.

    Similarly, I’m skeptical that Fredericksburg is going to do so either because it is now LOSING tax revenue to other local jurisdictions as they have started building their own competing major commercial centers – so Fredericksburg is going to be motivated to try to make up that loss.

    I’m not advocating for the project, only pointing out what are some pragmatic dynamics.

    The vision for that land was agreed to years ago by the developer and the city to be Resort Commercial.

    This project is ..resort commercial.

    I think if a major Federal Agency made a pitch to put a 1000 employees on TND development on that land – that neither the developer nor Fredericksburg would turn them down

    but how long would/should/could either of those two “wait” for some major employer to show up?

    I see and understand where you are coming from but I guess I don’t see most Fredericksburg area citizens nor the business community rising up in opposition to this.

    But you also do need to spend some time on I-95 and other urban area interstates.

    It’s awful everywhere.

    Our little town is puny with it’s traffic compared to other places.

    Spend some time down in HR/TW at rush hour if you want to see real problems…. or Raleigh or Chapel Hill.. Atlanta suburbs, Chicago suburbs…etc, etc.

    Fredericksburg’s traffic problems are a gnat on a dogs butt….

    Rodger – note that it was NOT in Fredericksburg where you got stopped on I-95 – either.

    The only new roads or significant upgrades in our area and across the state and even the US is going to come from TOLL roads.

    There is no more fuel tax money to “build our way out of congestion”
    and from what I understand – a snowball chance of increasing the fuel tax at the Fed or State level especially since NoVa and HR/TW got their own destiny-guiding transportation authorities.

    RoVa is not going to approve a fuel tax increase so that Fredericksburg can “fix” it’s road problems – not matter whether we allow a water park – or not.

    I would argue that any project as big as the water park – is an opportunity – to improve some of the area’s existing transportation grid. It could draw in the Feds and the State to support improvements and upgrades (such as CD lanes) in conjunction with the HOT lanes being contemplated.

  15. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry –

    Disney did demographic and market
    studies that concluded the American
    history theme park it planned near
    the Manassas battlefield would work
    and should have been built at that

    Virginians and others from around
    the country expressed their dislike
    for that proposal because of the
    bad concept and the problems it
    would created for that community.

    So I don’t buy into your weak case
    for this project — building an
    African theme water park next to
    the planned national slavery museum
    would be like the District of
    Columbia seeking a developer to
    build a water park with a Jewish
    theme near the the museum
    there about the awful human tragedy
    those people suffered.

    We don’t have major local employment centers
    because we don’t have a good transportation system
    nor an economic development program
    geared towards landing such projects.

    Prince William County to our north
    has both and it is finding new
    employment centers that allows the
    commuters there to have employment
    opportunities closer to home.

    We have traveled up and down the
    East Coast on I-95.

    Some of the worst traffic on it is in the
    Fredericksburg area for traffic now slows to a crawl
    on it from Stafford County to Caroline County.

    We have this problem because we
    do not have enough local road capacity
    and we use I-95 for local trips and
    the level of development at the I-95
    interchanges causes backups out onto it.

    The big water park is no opportunity,
    but a project that will
    make our traffic problems
    worst, complicate the difficult
    issues we are facing because of
    rapid growth and tarnish our image
    nationally and internationally given the
    poor taste exhibited in
    the notion such a park so be next
    to a national slavery museum that
    was designed by famous architectural team.

  16. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry and Others –

    Correction in the last paragraph:

    “…..the notion such a park should
    (not so) next to a national slavery
    museum …”

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I suspect if they changed the theme of the park to .. say Rappahannock Whitewater.. your opinion would be the same?

    Did you know that a National Recreational Canoe organization was also interested in a co-location situation?

    Disney got too close to PEC-land… that was NOT already zoned for Resort Commercial…

    Rodger.. have you been to the Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, LA urban/suburban belt areas?

    They’re all the same… as us.

    They all developed without requiring development to help pay for the highway capacity that they were using up – and would subsequently have to be replenished.

    No one is going to “save” Fredericksburg except Fredericksburg.

    As soon as we accept this.. we can then decide if there is some way to make road-improvement lemonade out of a water-park proposal BEFORE we summarily dump it overboard.

    In two other places in the Fredericksburg Area – SUBSTANTIAL road improvements were the direct result of Commercial area CDAs.

    Would it have been better to have the money without the additional commercial traffic?

    Of course – but let’s be real.

    What exactly are our alternatives at this point?

    We cannot turn the clock back and we cannot put a fence around our region to keep out undesirable people and companies.

    Stafford or Spotsylvania probably would LOVE to have that water park… then Fredericksburg City would be back to the days where they didn’t have enough money to take care of their basic needs.

    You know.. the Feds had a chance to move BRAC-affected agencies to the Fredericksburg Area and instead chose Belvoir and Quantico – and you’re telling me that we lost out because we don’t have adequate roads? What are the folks up north saying?

    Well.. Rodger.. they’re saying they don’t have the roads….

    surprise surprise! per Gomer Pyle

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Rodger and Jim basically right about the employee issue: this WILL bring in a lot of low-wage new residents that will be net losers for local government. Exurban economic development should focus on attracting new jobs that will get DC commuters off the roads and working closer to home. That way the new commercial development doesn’t generate much in the way of residential development, which is expensive to local government.

    Yes, a project like this will generate some sales tax revenue (directly and indirectly), but the huge generation of low-end jobs and traffic are serious demerits.

    When this interchange was first proposed seven years ago, the price tag estimate from VDOT was $500M! Yes, that’s hard to believe, but it came with a lot of bells, whistles and appendages. Who on earth is trying to sell the bad joke it will now cost only $21-32M? (This, after seven years of huge increases in transportation infrastructure construction costs.)

    The feds scoffed at the idea before–one reason being the “three-mile rule” about spacing interchanges (this one would be only a mile north of the Route 3 interchange). I can’t see them changing their minds too radically now, nor should they.

    One overlooked point was obliquely alluded to by Rodger: With this African waterpark going up next to the slavery museum, one has to wonder whether Celebrate Virginia is being conceived as an tourist mecca catering to African-Americans. What might be the implications of that?

    — Not Bill Howell

  19. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    wrong and misleading – blatantly so

    re: low paying jobs

    folks are going to move from somewhere else into the Fredericksburg area for low paying waterpark jobs?

    geeze… what kind of logic is this
    we all know that is exactly what happens to most similar parks – right? For instance, Kings Dominion is surrounded by slums that sprang up to house their workers – right?

    give me a break.. this is stupid-talk.

    re: 550 million interchange

    what that study showed was that the Fredericksburg part of I-95 will ultimately need MUCH MORE than a single interchange and would include the need for parallel C/D lanes because much of the I-95 traffic in the Fredericksburg area is local traffic using I-95.

    the interchange was identified as a key PART of a larger need.

    re: African American themes –

    I for one would welcome African American Tourism. Spotsylvania County, after all, is where the plantation depicted in ROOTS actually existed.

    I think debate about issues like the water park and interchange are healthy and needed but of the 3 issues here – two of them are misleading and the 3rd I’ll leave for others to form an opinion.

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Here’s what I think is the crux of the issue in Fredericksburg with regard to transportation.

    We (the Fredericksburg Area) cannot change what has already happened with regard to becoming a defacto bedroom community. The people and their cars are here and they are not leaving.

    I-95 is here and it’s not leaving.

    This is no State Transportation money and what little that we had, was essentially squandered on economic development interests associated with residential housing growth instead of focusing on how all the cars from new growth would be handled – especially on the main arteries that connect to I-95.

    Our area has no unified vision of how to better connect the areas bisected by I-95.

    Parallel lanes that connect to surface streets should have been built a long, long time ago but instead business interests dictated transportation decisions primarily to serve even more subdivision development – and commercial retail venues to sell all the stuff that folks in subdivisions want.

    Our principle arteries are congestion monsters build to serve business interests and not mobility.

    We, ourselves, as a region, do not have a unified vision of how we want our transportation network to function and when someone implies that a single interchange will cost $500 million – that is an example of exactly what we – as a region – are unwilling to do – and that is address the reality of our circumstances and get on with to dealing with realities.

    What is the Regional vision for Transportation in our area?

    if that “vision” is advocacy to “stop” access to I-95 then no wonder FHWA will not take us seriously.

  21. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “The feds scoffed at the idea before–one reason being the “three-mile rule” about spacing interchanges”

    more misinformation –

    “A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (known as the “Green Book”) is that there should be a minimum spacing between interchanges of 1.6 km (1 mi) in urban areas”


    “A review and written analysis demonstrating that the proposed interchange will provide adequate interchange spacing. Interchange spacing guidelines are as follows:

    Minimum spacing of one (1) mile in urban areas with an average spacing of two (2) miles,”


    The truth:

    What FHWA said was that putting a new interchange there – would require linking C/D lanes and that is what drove the 500 million dollar figure.

    The question is – are CD lanes needed in the Fredericksburg Area – and the answer is yes and that is from FHWA themselves.

    Right now – we have ramp traffic backing up onto I-95 during rush hour – very dangerous.

    My question is – given the circumstances that the Fredericksburg Area has…with regard to access to/from I-95 from our main regional arteries – what exactly is the justification for opposing improvements?

    Is there a better approach?

    If so.. where is the advocacy for the better/different approach?

  22. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Lary Gross –

    Not Bill Howell’s comments are right on the money – the chances
    of simply getting an interchange
    approved by the Federal Highway
    Administration at that location to
    service this project without other
    major improvements to I-95 that total almost $500 million are slim
    to none – such improvements are
    made by the feds, state, etc. to
    facilitate transportation needs not
    developers needs.

    Orlando Florida is a great case study about how such projects attract low wage workers to staff
    them and put strains on a community.

    Larry, you need to disclose to the
    readers your affiliation with the
    FOR and that group’s relationship
    with the developer of Celebrate

    You have serious conflicts of interest in this discussion which
    should be shared.

  23. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Other than being a member of the River Group – and an inactive member at that, I have no conflict.

    In fact, my views & opinions on transportation actually run counter to the local Conservation groups.

    I would invite you or anyone else including not Bill Howell to share the info both about me and others.. get it ALL on the table.

    I have nothing at all to hide and that is why I post with my real name.

    A study done almost a decade ago, showed that congestion reduction was highest with C/D lanes rather than a beltway.

    It made perfect sense but that did not stop the beltway interests.

    The C/D lanes have to be built no matter what else is built if you truly are interested in real responses to real traffic.

    The Fredericksburg Area has over 300,000 people – a large number of them are commuters to NoVa and their numbers total up to about 80,000 vehicles per day EACH on the main primaries that connect to I-95.

    We cannot “pretend” these folks are not already here and not already on the roads that are here.

    What we have is excellent commercial venues on both sides of I-95 and a willingness by commercial interests to help build the needed infrastructure – as opposed to wishful thinking that they state will swoop in and build it.

    My attitude is that the people are here.. the traffic is here.. and it’s irresponsible to be opposed to the necessary infrastructure that will handle the traffic and in turn make Fredericksburg a better place to live.

    I keep asking. If you don’t like what is on the table – put your own vision on the table.

    A “vision” of opposition is not a vision – and that, dear friends, is the problem with some folks in the area who say they care.

  24. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry Gross opposed the construction of the outer connector around the Fredericksburg region – a road
    similar to Rt. 288 and I-295 in the
    Richmond metropolitan area and Rt. 199 in the Williamsburg community.

    Funds for that road project were then used in West Point to upgrade
    a major road and bridges there.

    Fredericksburg area residents are
    suffering today because of this
    major mistake by him and others
    that were part of that “River Group” who did their community an awful injustice.

    Many residents work in the Rt. 17
    corridor of Stafford County. UMW
    has a graduate center and adult
    education program there. The only
    access to this important center for
    the region is get on I-95 and fight
    the gridlock up Rt. 17.

    Thousands of motorists and truckers
    making there way thru this fast-
    growth community desiring to travel
    up or down Rt. 17 have the same
    problem. They have to use Rt. 17
    and I-95.

    Larry Gross is no friend of the area’s motorists and his comments
    on this posting are empty.

  25. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I”m glad that Rodger has made things more clear. Let me add to it.

    Rodger was in favor of a classic VDOT “sprawl” road that was proposed for the most rural parts of the Fredericksburg Area.

    Developers were advertising subdivisions that offered “easy-on and easy-off” commutes from the “country” to NoVa.

    The Study for the OC looked at 5 alternatives. The BEST Performing alternative for congestion relief and connectivity was C-D lanes along I-95.

    The National Park Service, the EPA, and the Army Corps of Engineers as well as more than half of Fredericksburg area residents were ALSO opposed.

    No small “river” group killed this project.. the opposition was massive.

    Rodger further parrots the bogus VDOT threat that if the road they wanted (and they did not want the CD lanes) was not built – that they would give the Fredericksburg transportation dollars to another jurisdiction.

    Think about this. A State, taxpayer-funded agency is going to take the Fredericksburg Area fuel taxes and give them to another jurisdiction if they refuse to kowtow to VDOT.

    In other words, if you don’t build what VDOT wants, they’ll give your money away.

    Rodger admits – he supported that approach. I would not. In fact, on this point alone, VDOT should have been run out of town on a rail.

    I supported the building of C-D lanes from the very beginning because that is where the vast majority of the traffic and congestion already is.

    Those who wanted the beltway did not care that the infrastructure was needed along I-95 to improve access and flow for the folks that already lived there.

    so to this day.. they still are opposed to C/D lanes… even though every one of the 3 I-95 exits to Fredericksburg back-up onto I-95 at rush hour.

    I have absolutely no apologies and most ordinary folks who live in the Fredericksburg Area wanted improvements to the existing infrastructure and still do.

    The folks who were pushing for the beltway were the pro-growth elites who wanted more land development and more subdivisions.

    So NOW.. that we have a developer who wants to build new infrastructure next to I-95 – that will improve access for the 80,000 drivers a day who are ALREADY there and backing up on the existing I-95 ramps… we have folks who were in favor of a classic sprawl road ..opposed.

    The same folks who were in favor of sprawl and more subdivisions ..are opposed to a water park along I-95.

    VDOT and it’s supporters which include Rodger made very serious mistakes in how they planned this road.

    They tried to shove it down people’s throats instead of working WITH people to find a compromise approach. They refused to move it away from the most sensitive parts of the River AND the Battlefields.

    But I’m flattered.. if Rodger thinks one guy and a small can “stop” the likes of VDOT.

    Thanks, Rodger! 🙂

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    and let’s follow this up with more examples of what roads that I am in favor of.

    In simple terms, I’m in favor of any NEW road that can be built and operated with tolls instead of taxpayer money.

    In other words, if the road is really needed – then people will gladly pay for it and we charge the folks who want the road – not the folks who will never use it.

    One (major) caveat – any road that adversely impacts natural or historic resources must… I repeat this – must fully mitigate it’s impact.

    What I mean by that – is that if it crosses a remote river or a battlefield that it must be cut into the terrain and it must have noise walls at the river crossing –
    AND landowners must be fully compensated for their land including what is called “constructive takings”.

    and this cost – is incorporated into the tolls.

  27. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    to the readers …

    The Fredericksburg region has continued to grow inspite Mr. Gross’s comments how a single
    road was a means for more growth in the area.

    The public suffers because of the actions of Mr. Gross and his pals, though, for we lost an opportunity to create a road that would facilitate cross community trips ,provide an
    alternative for area residents to
    make trips without using Rt. 3,
    Rt. 1, Rt. 17 and I-95 and to give
    traffic from outside the region the
    opportunity to by-pass the urban
    center and related traffic here.

    Mr. Gross finds a means to justify
    his community not having the benefit of such a road, as does
    Richmond and Williamsburg.

    He is no friend of the traveling
    public or good planning in his
    community or Virginia.

  28. Anonymous Avatar

    to the readers ….

    but Mr. Gross is a supporter of the
    project subject of this posting by
    Jim Bacon that will create 1,000 to
    2,000 jobs here and attract 1 m to
    2 m tourists here — jobs for workers we do not have and visitors that will have to use I-95,a failed corridor
    that rarely functions because of
    gridlock, accidents and other
    mishaps that shut it down.

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’m not necessarily a supporter of this particular project. I’m willing to wait and see what’s on the table but I am a supporter of the necessary infrastructure along I-95 to safely move the growth that we already have – and that is clogging I-95 at rush hour.

    To NOT support this – and instead to support a sprawl road into the rural areas around Fredericksburg is… irresponsible IMHO even before discussions about the damage to Historic (Chancellorsville) and Natural resources.

    The folks who supported the road Rodger is talking about did not care.. about I-95 in the Fredericksburg Area, the Chancellorsville Battlefield or the upstream unspoiled portions of the Rappahannock.

    Rodger is the one who should be ashamed – that he failed to stand up for the things that were right and instead threw his lot in with the developers and land speculators who wanted this road.

    When we talk about high density, mixed-use, UDAs, smart growth, HOT lanes – all of these things – Rodger was working against despite his claims of supporting a community like Portland.

    I think he is well intentioned but totally misquided.

    Beltways and Portland do not mix.

    Beltways promote sprawl and disinvestment in the existing communities and infrastructure.

    Even then.. I would support one if it were tolled and could be self supporting on tolls.

    That’s a change in my position.

    Rodger.. wants the state to give Fredericksburg 500 million or even a billion dollars to build this road – even though the money would come from other Virginians.

    I’m opposed to that also.

    What I am in favor of – is developing the land adjacent to I-95 and to have it done with CDAs and tolls to help pay for C/D lanes and other roads that are needed.

    If it means holding our noses for a water park then let’s do it or find other acceptable economic development that will suit.

    To wait for VDOT or the State to swoop in and do something .. and to oppose any other approaches to solutions is … what?

    Fredericksburg has an MPO and they want to have a Transportation Authority.

    Fredericksburg has the means and opportunity to make some choices and I support that approach.

    I don’t think Fredericksburg should be expecting other taxpayers in Virginia to fund their roads…

    Anyone who supports VDOT’s approach to controversial roads – “support this road or we’ll give you money away to another jursidiction” should be ashamed – AND .. should be willing to fess up to being wrong for supporting that way of doing business.

  30. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry Gross is all wrong about theses subject and it is a waste
    of space here to try to reason
    with him.

    Over and over again he beats the
    same drumb complaining about the
    same issues using the the same
    baseless arguements.

    One can’t reach one with such a

  31. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo


    Larry and Others ….

    Larry Gross is all wrong about
    these subjects (not theses subject)
    and it is a waste of space here to
    try to reason with him.

    Over and over again he beats the
    same drumb complaining about the same issues using the same baseless

    One can’t reach one with such a
    position about these complicated

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