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Prince William Elected Leaders Voice Opposition to Beltway Bypass

By Potomac Local News April 30, 2013 8:30 am

6 Comments

022112 sign removal

By URIAH KISER

Hugo

Hugo

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Elected leaders Monday said a plan to build a new highway threatens Prince William’s coveted Rural Crescent.

Known officially at the “North-South corridor,” it’s also been dubbed the Tri-County Parkway, and by some as an Outer Beltway or Capital Beltway Bypass. Whatever you call it, Virginia Senator Richard H. “Dick” Black, Delegate Tim Hugo, and Prince William Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland say they don’t like the road project. They called it a “billion dollar road” that’s “ill-conceived,” and said it would only benefit cargo traffic headed in and out of Dulles International Airport.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland.

Officially, there is no official cost estimate for the road, but some have suggested early estimates of $1.2 billion. The proposed highway’s path lies between Dumfries and Dulles Airport. If built, Va. 234 would be converted to a limited-access highway, and a combination of newly constructed lanes and the conversion of smaller roads between Manassas and Loudoun County would provide a direct connection between Interstate 95 and Dulles.

But landowners say the highway will mean the loss of local streets, and officials point out an agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation that will allow for the closure of portions of U.S. 29 and Va. 234 Business that currently run inside Manassas National Battlefield Park before a long talked about Battlefield Bypass is built.

“If the North-South corridor is built, resulting the closure of Route 29, commuters in Fairfax, Prince William and Fauquier counties will be sitting on I-66, missing their children’s events, missing dinners, and watching their quality of life deteriorate,” said Delegate Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, Prince William, who called his opposition to the highway the “new Battle of Manassas.”

State transportation officials named the North-South route a primary transportation priority in the state, one of 12 “corridors of statewide significance” outlined by VDOT. At number 12, it was added to a list of 11 other priority corridors shortly after 2010 that include all major interstates in Virginia, U.S. routes 460, 17 and 13 on the Eastern Shore. The planned highway’s reemergence (plans for the highway were tossed aside years ago as it was deemed then as unnecessary) took many by surprise, and the roadway has been dubbed the “zombie road.”

What is this?

The highway was the focus of debate last Thursday night in Manassas, where supporters of the highway said it’s needed to spur economic growth in the region and throughout the state. Opponents on Thursday said the highway would hurt property values and do little for job growth in Prince William County.

Peter Candland on Monday said he “stands shoulder to shoulder” with Hugo.

“My concern is that we have not seen sufficient economic forecasting that is needed to determine if the [Tri-County Parkway] is the best transportation solution to speed access to and from Dulles Airport, or that it will create high-paying jobs here in Prince William County,” said Candland.

The proposed highway comes as taxpayers are already on the hook for the heavy rail extension of Washington’s Metro system to Dulles International Airport at a cost of nearly $6 billion. Toll on the Dulles Toll Road, which takes drivers from I-66 directly to the airport, were also raised in order to finance the new subway line.

But the proposed highway could also have a toll on Prince William County’s Rural Crescent – a tract of land that, on a map resembles a crescent, was protected by county leaders in 1998 as a haven for farmland and agriculture. Challenges to the land use come almost yearly from churches that want to connect to sewer water and golf courses that want to build on the land.

“…This road will destroy the Rural Crescent, land that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors has pledged to protect; will take property from over 100 land owners just in the Gainesville District, and will siphon monies away from critical transportation needs such as I-66,” said Hugo.

Many of the most vocal landowners opposed to the project live on Pageland Lane in Prince William County. According to project documents, if the highway is built, a portion of the rural street could be closed to traffic to accommodate the Capital Beltway Bypass. Many of them, after making their voices heard Thursday night, have taken to social media and Facebook, creating a “Say No to the Tri-County Parkway” group.

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  • Raymond Beverage

    “Create high-paying jobs here in Prince William”…I wondered once exactly what was a “high-paying job” expounded on by many as you never hear a salary range related to it.

    Back in September 2010, the County released the “Final Report of Economic Development Task Force” which had within the Economic Development/Transportation Strategic Goal “The County will creat a community that will attract quality businesses that bring in high-paying jobs…”

    Now, I fully support attracting these jobs to anywhere in the greater Prince William Area. But it takes some drilling through the report to even get any factoid of what these “high paying” are.

    Buried down on Page 17 of that report, under Action Strategy 5 – Small Business, it stated “Since 2000, the cumulative number of high-wage quality jobs brought into the County is 10,442 with an average annual payroll of approximately $600,000,000.” If you divide the payroll by the cumulative number of “high way quality jobs”, this gives the average of $54,570.

    Given the PWC Median Income at time of the report was around $88,724, the average comes close to what I suppose the Median is viewed as for “high-paying”. That said, the average annual salary at the time of the report according to VEC was $41,028, having around a 24% increase to the annual average would be a good thing!

    Still, the question lingers….what exactly is a “high paying job” expressed by Mr. Candland and others? Ponder, ponder, ponder….

    • Kenn Knarr

      Raymond,

      You make an excellent point here as to defining the “high-paying” jobs that will be brought to PWC and Loudon County. The definition of terms being thrown around is always important.

      If we consider the purpose of the North-South Corridor (allow the flow of logistics to/from Dulles International Airport, establishing it as the aviation hub of the entire east coast), it is unrealistic to think many jobs of any quality will be brought into PWC or the surrounding area. The traffic on this new multi-lane, 65 mph, limited access, toll road will be tractor trailers coming up I95 and over to drop off/pick up loads from the airport. It is unlikely this traffic will stop off in PWC or Loudon County to shop, eat, or buy diesel fuel. It is even less likely any of them will be from or move to PWC or Loudon County thus they won’t own land, homes or pay taxes in these counties.

  • Go liberal government

    Well they are ruining this place day by day…born and raised here. Oh’ lets build an overpass on 28 by southern states! Where a Deadly t-bone accident just waiting to happen
    Yea that was a stupid irresponsible waste of money. Would have made more sense to put an overpass on godwin dr wellington rd. …45mph. Then it would fall on countys dime… Last time i checked they use our hospital too!

    Also ambulances could get straight shot to hospital. Now they go down stonewall rd which is 25mph residential neighborhood with hills with a $200 speeding fine not to mention kids playing.. If the town is gettin bigger ….which it obviously is build another rescue squad(s) for the town.

    Manassas would have been better off with putting a gas station back over on this side of town..
    Excuse my grammer im bad w iphone

    • MC 703

      Oh man. This has nothing to do with “Liberal Government”

      I fear you’re watching too much Fox News and it is your knee-jerk reaction to blame anything and everything on the “liberal government.”

      Hello?

      The transportation plan is REPUBLICAN Gov McDonnell’s. Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia Sean Connaughton, who is one of the biggest champions of the project, is a REPUBLICAN.

      The REPUBLICAN dominated General Assembly passed the transportation package.

      Hello? Must be liberals!

      • HeinzSkitzVelvets

        Yea lemme guess u prolly work for government too.liberal

      • Varules

        No i agree with go liberal…

        Why put all these bull crap streets we dont need or more apartment complexes to
        House more illegals and subsidize more section 8 housing. Why do you keep ruining this once pretty area.?
        It Looks like crap. If you want to fix a road… And You just have to spend that taxpayer dime ……go fix the streets in oldtown manassas. Who ever was paid to put that in did the worst job i have ever seen. I go around old town because it will destroy your car and im not talking potholes. Its mainly heading south 28 thru
        Old town. The crosswalks are sunken down and the borders are raised up concrete.
        I have seen blown struts and popped tires hubcaps etc.

        Also his name is go liberal government u retard.
        I did not once read him stating anything about liberals.

        Hope you are part of the sequestor