Bi-County Parkway Update

July 31, 2017

There are powerful special interest groups on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) who are trying their best to revive the Bi-County Parkway to follow exactly the same route that we fought together to defeat just a little over a year ago. Astoundingly, when the funding priority list was snuck into the TransAction Plan of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) a couple of weeks ago, not a single Public Information meeting was scheduled in Prince William County.

The Chairman of the NVTA is also a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Marty Nohe of the Coles District, and he explained away a decision he personally made not to hold any Public Information meetings in Prince William County, despite such meetings being held in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Arlington County.

To be clear, I am not opposed to the construction of a North-South Corridor that will provide relief for commuters between Prince William County and points north. I am opposed to a Cargo Truck Autobahn that will be a cut-through from I-95 to Dulles Airport that is actually just the pretense for opening up a new transportation corridor for significant new high-density housing developments in Loudoun County.

I am strongly opposed to the routing plan that was previously considered and defeated, notwithstanding the broad support among the special interests who wanted to cash in on the backs of Prince William County citizens.

I have made my position clear from the outset that local residents should have a right to have input on the decisions that are made by the CTB on how roadways impact their communities. The citizens of the Gainesville District were ignored in the development of the routing plan for the Bi-County Parkway that would have eviscerated the Rural Crescent, would have disrespected the significant historical battlefields that the routing plan would have dissected; and would have led to the shutdown of the Sudley Church on Route 234 because of a deal that was struck with the National Park Service administrators of the Manassas National Battlefield.

The proposed routing plan for the Bi-County Parkway would also increase traffic congestion in Prince William County, and would create a catastrophic commuter nightmare on I-66, a roadway that is already designated as one of the worst commuter highways in America.

I sponsored a resolution on the Board of County Supervisors to remove the Bi-County Parkway from the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  I fought for that significant policy change because I wanted to protect the right of local citizens to have input in any future discussions about the routing plan and its impact on our community.

Equally important, it is imperative for everyone to understand that the Bi-County Parkway has negative impacts across all of Prince William County, not just here in the Gainesville District.

VDOT and the CTB teamed up to try every political trick in the book to ram through this special interest road on the backs of every family in Prince William County. They failed because of the strong efforts of citizens in Prince William County who rose up and demanded that their voices be heard.

Let’s be clear on the facts – there is no credible study or evaluation criteria presently in existence that demonstrates that the Bi-County Parkway, as presently designed, would provide any significant economic benefit to Prince William County, reduce travel times to Dulles Airport, or relieve traffic on our overcrowded roads.  In fact, the opposite is true.

Data from VDOT clearly shows that their version of the Bi-County Parkway would dramatically increase traffic in Gainesville, as it will close down Rt. 234 through the Battlefield.

Before Supervisor Nohe attempted to sneak by the inclusion of the Bi-County Parkway into the list of priority funding of roads in Northern Virginia, I had made the commitment to form a Task Force on the Bi-County Parkway, and I had already held a meeting of citizens on this issue.  Mr. Nohe’s back door attempt to sneak the Bi-County Parkway into a list of roadway funding priorities has made it impossible to continue that effort.

I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Delegate Hugo, Delegate Marshall, Senator Black, and my colleagues on the Board of County Supervisors to continue to fight a roadway that offers no economic benefits to Prince William County and is nothing more than a “special interest” roadway that is being promoted by some politicians who choose to support their big donors over the citizens they were elected to represent.

In the end, this is about not allowing VDOT and the CTB to prioritize the special interest groups in Loudoun County over our quality of life.  You have my commitment that I will continue to stand for the citizens of Prince William County and demand that your voices are heard.

I also fully understand that there are some landowners, particularly those who own large tracts of land in our area, who have found that it is no longer economically viable for agricultural activities. I believe that some accommodation must be made to allow for these landowners to reasonably value their land for non-agricultural purposes. That is a discussion that must take place outside of the context of the Bi-County Parkway, and we must find solutions that are reasonable and sensitive to the needs of these large landowners.

I am grateful for the trust that you have placed in me to represent your interests on the Board of County Supervisors, but my voice is only effective if it represents the beliefs of the majority of the people whom I represent. I welcome input from you, and I will be working to hold meetings to gather additional input from all stakeholders on the future of the Rural Crescent, and whether some accommodations need to be made to this policy that responsibly address the priorities of the landowners who have a right to expect equity. But these are local decisions that we have the right to make, and not have policies formulated by special interests rammed down our throats.

You have my commitment that I will continue to stand up for protecting our communities, your property values, and our quality of life.

Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District

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