WAMU 88.5 : News

BRAC Funding Will Help With Va. Traffic, But Not Soon Enough

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Patrick Rea lives near Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, and despite the news of $150 million in new federal funding allocated towards the widening of Route 1 near the fort, the only optimism Rea can muster about the expected traffic is the sarcastic kind.

"Well, once traffic stops, it stops," he says, laughing.

Rea says the biggest problem is too many traffic lights on Route 1.

Congressman Jim Moran, who led the charge to secure the federal funding, says local businesses will have thousands of new customers, but it won't matter much if local roads aren't ready to handle them.

Moran compares it to dining at a great steakhouse.

"Eat too much, too fast, no matter how good it is, even if somebody else is paying for it, you're gonna get indigestion," Moran says.

The new federal funding will do little to make things better in time for the workers arrival this fall because it could take three to five years before the widening of Route 1 is complete.

Moran has long argued that there was not enough work done to manage the transportation impacts of the BRAC changes in Northern Virginia, and a report issued Wednesday by the Department of Defense inspector general agrees.

The report finds "weaknesses" in the analysis of traffic impacts resulting from BRAC, and finds that the original analysis "did not include or sufficiently address several critical travel demand management strategies."

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