In front of a packed boardroom, members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted today to amend the action taken at their February 18 meeting by reinstating the I-66 spot improvements project in the region’s annual transportation plan update, while placing some conditions on moving forward with two of three of the improvements. The amended resolution was taken into consideration at the request of TPB member and Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine Hudgins.
At its February 18 meeting, the TPB voted to remove the I-66 spot improvements project inside the Capital Beltway from the region’s annual transportation plan update until the completion of a previously requested multi-modal study.
The I-66 spot improvements project is comprised of three sections. The funding for section one – which runs from Fairfax Drive to Sycamore Street – is already programmed and construction is scheduled to begin later this year. However, section two (which runs from Washington Boulevard to Dulles Connector) and section three (Lee Highway to Glebe Road) are not currently funded, and today’s resolution ties TPB approval of funding to the completion of short- and long-term multi-modal studies to look at a full range of options for I-66. Hudgins said that the results of the short-term study must be provided to the TPB by October 2009.
Rather than simply a reversal of its previous action – which would have placed no conditions on proceeding with the spot improvements – Hudgins suggested that today’s action represents a compromise. “Some will say that this is a victory for I-66 widening advocates, others will say that this is a victory for advocates of the multi-modal study,” Hudgins said. “I think this is a victory for the entire community.”
Prior to the Board members’ discussion of the amended resolution, the TPB heard comments from many members of the public, including business and community leaders, residents, and commuters. The expressed opinions consisted of both support for and opposition to the spot improvements.