NVTA seeks public feedback on transportation projects
Starting Friday, April 15, the general public has the opportunity to weigh in on one or more of the 26 candidate transportation projects seeking regional funding as part of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s (NVTA) FY2022-2027 Six Year Program (SYP).
Among the seven candidate projects from Fairfax County are the Richmond Highway widening project from Mount Vernon Memorial Highway/Jeff Todd Way to Sherwood Hall Lane, and the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
According to the NVTA’s project summary, Fairfax County is requesting just over $60 million for the preliminary engineering, right of way (ROW) and construction phases of the highway widening, which includes additional travel lanes, intersection improvements, secure pedestrian crossings, bridge replacements and additions, a median reservation for BRT, and off-road, two-way bike paths and sidewalks on both sides of the road.
The county is also asking for $80 million for the preliminary engineering, ROW and construction of BRT, a 7.4-mile transit project with nine stations between Huntington Metrorail Station and Fort Belvoir.
At the time of application for NVTA regional funding in October 2021, the county's estimated total project cost for the highway expansion was $415 million and for BRT was $730 million.
When making funding decisions, NVTA considers project eligibility, quantitative and qualitative factors, and public comment, which it describes as “an important component” in the development of NVTA’s Six Year Program.
“Public input is an important part of the Six Year Program update process, and we want to hear from you,” said NVTA Chief Executive Officer Monica Backmon in a video clip explaining how to provide feedback.
During NVTA’s public comment period — which lasts until May 22 — community members can share their feedback on individual projects via email, an online submission form, voicemail, postal mail or at the SYP public hearing, which will be held May 12 at 7 p.m. at NVTA’s office in Fairfax, as well as in virtual format. Advance registration is required to provide live comment during the hearing.
Additionally, NVTA will hold an SYP Open House May 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) NOVA District Office in Fairfax to give the public a chance to meet one-on-one with NVTA staff and jurisdiction staff that submitted projects for funding consideration.
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In June, NVTA staff will develop recommendations on which projects to fund, and following further internal reviews and approvals, the organization is expected to adopt the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program in July. At that point, staff will prepare a final report on the program, including a schedule for appropriating funds.
Both Richmond Highway area transportation projects have received NVTA regional funding in the past; under the organization’s inaugural FY2018-2023 Six Year Program, the BRT project received approval for the full $250 million requested, and the Route 1 widening project got approval for its full $127 million ask. Two years later, under the FY2020-2025 Six Year Program, the highway widening project was approved for around $120 million in additional funding for ROW acquisition and construction — somewhat under the county’s request for just over $183 million. The county’s request for additional BRT funding was not approved at the time.
Pending funding, construction for the Richmond Highway widening is expected to last from 2025 to 2028 or 2029, according to VDOT. The first phase of BRT — which will be known as “The One” — is anticipated to be operational in 2030.