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Virginia Transportation Advocates Seek Improvements

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By this time Wednesday Virginia lawmakers will be back in Richmond trying to hammer out a two-year state budget. Questions remain over whether they will add more dollars to fund transportation projects that advocates say Virginia cannot do without.

Standing near the intersection of Route 7 and Lewinsville Road, west of Tyson's Corner, the volume of traffic can drown out the sound of your voice, more like an interstate highway than a local road.

"This road needs to be rather than two lanes in each direction, three or four lanes in each direction," says Bob Chase, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance.

"This is taking a tremendous toll on family life and the economy, and yet for relatively little money per person or per household, you could have a much improved transportation system."

Chase says both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for failing to approve adequate transportation funding measures before the General Assembly adjourned its 60-day session. Lawmakers could only agree on two things: charging $50 dollars for registration of electric vehicles and selling naming rights to highways and bridges. He says Route 7 here needs to be at least three lanes in each direction, not two.

"Route 7 is a major link to Tyson's Corner," says Chase. "Tyson's Corner is supposed to double in density and size in the next 20 or 30 years. Today Route 7, west of Tyson's, is bumper-to-bumper in the morning. It's bumper-to-bumper at night."

He's calling on the Governor and General Assembly to raise taxes, and create a list of projects that all new revenues will be dedicated to. In his view, that's the best way to convince commuters to pay more for the transportation system they need.

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