WASHINGTON — You’d think $300 million would be a lot of money, but for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, it just scratches the surface.
When the General Assembly passed a law to increase taxes to raise money for transportation, the NVTA was given the responsibility of spending the money on projects to address traffic problems in Northern Virginia. Each year, the authority gets about $300 million in tax revenue.
“I never thought when I was elected district supervisor 12 years ago that I would be the guy whose job it is to travel around Northern Virginia to explain that $300 million really isn’t that much money,” says NVTA Chair and Prince William County Supervisor Martin Nohe.
So far, the money has been spent on new railcars for VRE, upgrades to help get more eight-car trains on Metro and improvements to Route 28 in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, among other projects.
“These three projects are just the tip of the iceberg on Route 28. Within 10 years, Route 28 will be a radically different road because we are making investments in that corridor that really has become the single greatest source of transportation headaches in the region,” says Nohe.
Last month, the NVTA celebrated the purchase of 23 new OmniRide buses that connect Northern Virginia together with a regional bus system.
But all these projects are just making small dents into the larger picture of congestion all around the region.
“We are never going to fix, through the NVTA, all the transportation problems that we deal with in Northern Virginia. And those problems we are able to fix, we’re not going to be able to fix overnight,” says Nohe.