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Virginia Unveils Plan To Improve Access To Dulles Airport

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has been studying several options to improve access to the western side of Dulles Airport.
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The Virginia Department of Transportation has been studying several options to improve access to the western side of Dulles Airport.

A plan to build highway express lanes to improve access to Dulles Airport goes before the public Tuesday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been studying several options to improve the flow of people and air cargo traffic to the western side of Dulles Airport. The plan it now likes best calls for constructing express lanes within Route 50 that would connect the northern end of the planned Bi-County Parkway to a new entrance at the airport.

"[We] certainly want to wait and see what public comment is going to come out of this, and I know there [are] strong feelings on both sides of this," says Aubrey Layne, Virginia's secretary of transportation. "Of course, this project is not currently funded. And so it will have to go through prioritization."

The prioritization he's talking about requires the state to use five factors when deciding whether a transportation project deserves funding, and they include congestion relief and economic development. A big reason why this project is controversial is that it would connect with the planned Bi-County Parkway. The parkway would connect Prince William and Loudoun Counties by paving over the western fringe of Mannassas battlefield, a plan that has provoked intense opposition.

"The governor has said he understands the need for greater mobility in the corridor," Layne says. "But again, it is going to have to go through prioritization."

Layne says if the McAuliffe administration ultimately decides to support the Bi-County Parkway, funding is at least 12 months away.

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