NoVa’s New $400 Million-a-Year Honey Pot

As road-building action in Northern Virginia shifts to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, Eric Weiss with the Washington Post profiles that long-obscure body now finding itself in the limelight. The organization’s main accomplishment to date has been to publish “TransAction 2030,” a $16.6 billion wish list of road, transit and trail projects for the region.

Under The Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007, the Authority will have roughly $400 million a year at its disposal, assuming NoVa localities approve. That’s only half of the sum needed to fund the TransAction 2030 list, however, so someone will have tough choices to make. As Weiss points out:

Although there is a plan, there is no mechanism to decide which projects go first. Also, the money raised by the new taxes will not come close to building all the projects, so members will have to decide which to postpone. Several members said they will seek input on priorities from their local elected boards and lobby for those.

Another concern (mine, not Weiss’) is that there appears to be no mechanism for coordinating the improvements with, or making them conditional upon, changes in land use.

Oh, and there’s also the problem that representatives to the Authority are largely unaccountable, mechanisms for public participation have yet to be worked out, and the decision-making process will be influenced disproportionately by the transportation contractors and land owners who can afford to pay full-time lobbyists to work the system.

Sounds to me like a recipe for back-room deals.

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One response to “NoVa’s New $400 Million-a-Year Honey Pot”

  1. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    For another view of the NVTA see “Reality-Balsed Regionalism” 17 Oct 2005 at and the discussion of their Python Map.


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