Upgrading I-95 South to Richmond Should Be a Priority

Transportation group puts it top of the list for Va's economic success

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If you've driven from Washington to Richmond on I-95, you know what it's about.

    Traffic along the route is notoriously unpredictable.

    Except for the area in Dumfries, Va., where the HOV lanes merge and five lanes squeeze to three, and there's almost always a backup.

    Then the hills after the merge slow traffic.

    Add in construction and heavy volume you could have trouble.

    Bad for drivers, bad for business.

    Now a Washington-based transportation research group identifies that section of I-95 as a the top priority for expanding Virginia's growth.

    It heads the list by TRIP of the top 50 projects identified as critical to the state's economy.

    Half of the top ten are in our area, including HOT lane construction and transit improvements on I-95 and I-395; widening I-66 in Prince William County, Fairfax and Vienna; extending Metrorail from Fairfax County to Dulles Airport and beyond to Ashburn; and widening portions of Route 29 by adding two lanes to the Eastern Bypass in Warrenton.

    Of the 50 projects, 36 call for building, expanding or modernizing highways. Six projects would improve public transit and eight projects improve the state's rail system.

    TRIP ranked each transportation project based on its economic benefits of job creation, facilitating movement of goods and improving access.

    "The TRIP report provides a blueprint for the commonwealth's economic future" said Whittington Clement, chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. "Making needed improvements to Virginia's surface transportation system will support future economic growth and competitiveness and help ensure that Virginia remains an attractive place to live, visit, work and do business."

    The TRIP report doesn't offer suggestions on how the state should pay for the improvements.

    Lawmakers are currently debating Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to borrow $3 billion for road construction.