( – promoted by lowkell)
Many of us in Northern Virginia have been anticipating (actually, dreading!) the upcoming addition of 13,000 new employees to Ft. Belvoir due to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) measures passed a few years back. This will add considerable traffic to the already-congested Route 1 corridor in southern Fairfax County. Existing rules prohibit defense funding from going to off-base road improvements unless BRAC would cause traffic to double (“from 60,000 cars per day to 120,000 cars per day” according to Delegate Scott Surovell).
In other words, you would have to pack the volume of an interstate onto the Richmond Highway before construction could begin around Ft. Belvoir.
But thanks to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) put forth by Congressmen Gerry Connoly and Jim Moran,
DoD will be permitted to authorize funds for road improvements without the traffic-doubling requirement.
“This is an important bipartisan victory in our efforts to improve transportation infrastructure around Fort Belvoir to mitigate the impact of the thousands of new employees coming to the base due to BRAC,” Connolly said. “Our language included in this House-passed bill makes a key change in DoD regulations that allows DoD to use transportation improvement funding off-base to make desperately needed road and transit improvements.” Without this language DoD cannot make improvements outside the base without a determination that traffic would double due to base expansion. That’s tough to do. How do you double gridlock?”
And here’s another bonus: the bill “expands the program to fund transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure in addition to roads.”
Since we know the Commonwealth of Virginia won’t be providing much in the way of funds for existing roads, especially in Northern Virginia, I’m glad that our Congressmen have taken these steps to allow for some relief along the Rt. 1 corridor.