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Fairfax Dilemma: Could County Really Do Better Than VDOT?

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An especially snowy winter in Fairfax County, Virginia has reignited the issue of whether there should be greater local control of roads.
Jonathan Wilson
An especially snowy winter in Fairfax County, Virginia has reignited the issue of whether there should be greater local control of roads.

By Jonathan Wilson

The recent winter storms have reignited talks of greater local control of roads in Fairfax County, Virginia. But the massive effort to dig out is giving people on both sides of the argument a better sense of the issue's complexity.

Fairfax County supervisors say the state's department of transportation is far too involved in decisions affecting local residents.

Sharon Bulova is the Board of Supervisors Chair.

"We shouldn't have to go through the state in order to put up a streetlight or stoplight," says Bulova.

Right now, that's basically the case. Roads in Fairfax have been state owned and maintained for more than 70 years.

But supervisors also know that despite complaints about state interference and road maintenance, responding to last week's snow was a bigger job than the county is ready to handle.

"VDOT brought up equipment from other parts of the state," says Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth. "If we were doing this on our own, what would we do, borrow it from Arlington?"

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet with VDOT to discuss the storm response on March 16th.

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