NVTA committees endorse full funding for Richmond Highway widening, BRT projects; final vote on July 14
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s (NVTA) Planning and Programming Committee (PPC) convened the evening of June 23 and endorsed NVTA staff’s recommendations on transportation projects to be funded under the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program. Both the Richmond Highway widening project from Mount Vernon Memorial Highway/Jeff Todd Way to Sherwood Hall Lane, and the Richmond Highway BRT project were recommended and unanimously endorsed for full funding.
The PPC meeting was the third of three committee meetings at which NVTA staff presented and received official backing for their funding recommendations. NVTA’s Planning Coordination Advisory Committee signed off on staff recommendations on June 22, and the Technical Advisory Committee provided its endorsement on June 14. As next steps, the PPC will develop a final set of recommendations to be posted on the Authority’s website by June 29, and the NVTA Board will consider them at its regularly scheduled business meeting on July 14, when it is expected to adopt the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program.
In total, NVTA evaluated 26 transportation projects, recommending full funding for 17 of them and partial funding for three others. Seven of the 20 funded projects, including both Richmond Highway corridor transportation projects, were identified as “continuation projects,” meaning they had previously received NVTA funding.
The Richmond Highway BRT’s recommended funding of $80 million was one of NVTA’s three largest allocations. The Authority recommended allotting just over $60 million for the Richmond Highway widening project.
According to Keith Jasper, principal for Transportation Planning and Programming with NVTA, the staff’s overall funding recommendations had a multimodal/corridor focus, putting a continued emphasis on roadway/BRT in both the Route 1 corridor and the Fairfax County Parkway corridor. Their recommendations also tended to support projects involving transportation technologies like Intelligent Transportation Systems and were geographically and modally balanced, with all transit, bike/pedestrian and transportation technology projects recommended for full funding.
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Public comment was one of four important elements impacting NVTA staff’s funding recommendations. A summary of the public comments on the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program showed that the Richmond Highway BRT project received a total of 99 comments — all supportive of the project. In contrast, the Richmond Highway widening project received a total of 37 comments, 34 of which were in opposition to the project. NVTA noted that some public comments they received about transportation projects contained similar language and offered feedback on several projects of a similar type, often expressing support for transit and multimodal projects, while voicing concerns about and opposition to road widening projects.
Besides public feedback, NVTA also weighed eligibility and quantitative and qualitative factors in its funding recommendations.