The Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to press forward with an appeal of an Arlington Circuit Court judge's ruling that taxes to be imposed and bonds to be issued by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority are constitutional. Loudoun is the only jurisdiction mounting a challenge to the regional road construction funding plan.Meanwhile, our roads and bridges are in jeopardy.
The board voted 8-0-1 to appeal the ruling, with Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) absent for the vote. Burton had previously said he opposed the appeal because of the cost and the fact that another group is appealing; however, he said that after the board's closed sessiong meeting Tuesday with legal advisors, he was persuaded by "three bites on my right leg and a twist on my arm" to vote for it.
Following a fatal crash involving teenage siblings last winter, the North King Street/Rt. 15 intersection north of Leesburg again caught the attention of residents, politicians and traffic experts alike, and VDOT restudied the intersection and made adjustments in April, four months after the accident.
- Leesburg Today
The board does not meet again until Sept 4, but Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) sent a letter this week to VDOT asking the agency to consider using a porion of the $1.8million it plans to spend on Loudoun's gravel roads within the current fiscal year to temporarily fix Sycolin Road while residents wait fora more comprehensive improvement project along that route. ... There have been 50 accidents along that road during the past two years according to a report the Loudoun Sheriff's Office submitted to her.The Republicans on the Board of Supervisors are more interested in spending tax dollars to overturn the first transportation improvement legislation in decades than actually doing something about roads in Loudoun. Our traffic and roads problems are no longer a quality-of-life issue, they are a safety issue.
- Leesburg Today (Print edition, August 31, 2007)
If paving Sycolin (for example) were to reduce accidents by 50%, that means probably 2 full man-weeks of deputy time (assuming 3-4 hours per accident on site and doing paperwork) which would be available for other important work enforcing laws and improving safety. How much faster would Sycolin get paved if the money being spent on the appeal were designated for paving Sycolin instead?
It's critical to note that Loudoun stands alone among NVTA members in appealing the NVTA's constitutionality. When Loudoun loses on appeal, it is likely that the other jurisdictions on the NVTA will not look as kindly on projects that benefit Loudoun. After all, Loudoun's appeal threatens the projects of every jurisdiction involved in the NVTA. If the NVTA is overturned, Loudoun stands to lose over $8 Million in immediate road project money, including money for Battlefield Parkway, Loudoun County Parkway, and Maple and Main in Purcellville. (We assuredly lost the opportunity for the NVTA to be based in Loudoun as a result of this appeal.)
The Board of Supervisors is spending the money raised by this year's higher property taxes in an attempt to cast down the state's solution to our transportation dilemma. This is how they propose to "end gridlock, stop sprawl and density packing?"
Meanwhile, in Leesburg, the Town Council actually did something in the face of County and State inaction on transportation. In 2006, the Town Council allocated $15 million for local road improvements like Battlefield Parkway. And in doing so, was able to secure further funding in the form of a state grant. In fiscal 2008, the Town continues to manage and fund the completion of this critical link.
Is it Leesburg's responsibility to fund a connecting road that would effectively route traffic around the Town? A road which is likely to be used largely by people bypassing the town itself? No, this kind of regional improvement is a state and county issue, but the Town Council saw fit to step in and solve the problem when no one else would. This kind of pragmatic leadership, which places problem solving before posturing, is what we need from the Board of Supervisors.