Question: When should conservationists care about yet another boring long-range plan proposed by a government agency?
Answer: When the plan proposes new roads designed to increase sprawl, open Prince William’s protected Rural Area to higher density development, and transform our natural landscape.
The plan is TransAction, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) long-range transportation "plan" for new projects until 2040. However, it's not a plan that can be implemented. It's a wish list of projects, unconstrained by financial considerations.
Following the current TransAction exercise, NVTA does get real and will use the list of projects in Transaction to complete a Six-Year Action Plan, where real money is allocated to realistic projects. The next Action Plan is slated for approval in June 2018.
TransAction 2040 includes many new road construction projects, including the developer's dream of a new bridge over the Potomac River from Dumfries to Maryland.
There are relatively few transit improvements for Prince William; NVTA proposes to pave our way out of congestion. We've been building new roads since the Shirley Highway reached the Occoquan River 75 years ago - hmm, think it's working and even more pavement is the solution?
Read the list of projects and submit your comments, due July 23, here.
Most surprisingly, the TransAction plan includes the Bi-County Parkway. Prince William County Supervisors have removed that project from our Comprehensive Plan because it solves no problems but would incentivize the conversion of farms to houses. If you think local priorities should affect regional and state planning, now is the time to speak up.
Also of concern is the absence of a public meeting in Prince William, where citizens can view maps, ask questions, and share views. Instead, the NVTA is scheduled for a presentation at the 2pm Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, July 18.
According to the BOCS Agenda, Citizens Time will follow the NVTA presentation creating a three-minute opportunity to share your views with Supervisors but restricts opportunities to ask questions and excludes everyone who will be hard at work on Tuesday afternoon.
As always, decisions are made by the people who show up. Email Prince William County Supervisors. Urge them to honor our Comprehensive Plan by removing the Bi-County Parkway and proposed bridge across the Potomac River from TransAction. Request their action to ensure a public meeting for Prince William citizens.