Friday, November 26, 2010

DOT Rejects Tiger II Grant for U.S. 1 Transit Study

All significant improvements to U.S. 1 must be approved by the federal government. Before any significant widening of U.S. 1 can occur, a Centerline Study must be completed and because the future configuration of U.S. 1 includes transit (dedicated bus lanes, light rail and/or Metro), a transit study must be done before the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) will approve a centerline configuration.

This past fall, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) issued the new U.S. Centerline Study for all of U.S. 1 from Fredericksburg to Washington, D.C. but excluded the section of U.S. 1 from Woodlawn to Old Town because no transit study was funded. I consider the funding of this transit study to be the number one transportation priority for the Mount Vernon community today. Until this is done, design work for U.S. 1 widening cannot even get funded, nor can U.S. 1 get on to VDOT's twelve-year plan.

This Spring, I contacted Congressmen Moran and Connolly regarding funding the transit study as part of the BRAC process and they suggested that we seek funding through the second round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants - also called TIGER II - through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

This summer, Fairfax County submitted a TIGER II application that included a request for $1 million for the U.S. 1 transit study. On October 20, 2010, the USDOT announced its grant awards and zero projects were funded in Virginia.

In the meantime, I have been lobbying VDOT and Virginia Transportation Secretary Connaughton to fund this transit study either through the $1 billion VDOT recently identified that was available for projects or through normal processes. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors also requested that the U.S. 1 Transit Study be funded from the $1 billion as well. I also intend to introduce a Budget Amendment this session for an earmark. My letter to Secretary Connaughton is below along with his response.

Congestion on U.S. 1 is completely unacceptable and will only continue to get worse over the next 20 years.

Letter to Sec. Connaughton Regarding Funding of U.S. 1 Transit Study

Letter From Sec. Connaugton 11-19-10 Re: U.S. 1 Transit Study

1 comment:

  1. Unsat. This is something that should've happened years ago.