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FairfaxTransportationActivist groups leery of long-term transportation proposal

Activist groups leery of long-term transportation proposal

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A trio of activist groups has criticized the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s (NVTA) recently unveiled long-term transportation-planning document as unaffordable and out of touch.

“A plan that we could never afford is not a plan. And if we can’t afford it, and dozens of the projects can never be built, then the NVTA can’t claim that their plan would reduce congestion,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, one of the organizations that ripped into the $75.7 billion proposal designed to guide transportation projects in the region through 2045.

The plan was published Aug. 1, with a public-comment period running through Sept. 28.

The proposal puts too much emphasis on vehicular traffic, critics said.
“Despite the inclusion of a mix of transit and bicycle/pedestrian investment in TransAction, the road-building plans are extensive, and the plan takes us down the wrong road at a critical time,” Schwartz said.

“We’ve suggested, year after year, a bottom-up scenario focused on walkable, transit-oriented land use, more transit and parking pricing among other demand-management solutions,” said Bill Pugh, senior policy fellow for the Committee for Smarter Growth.

Mark Scheufler of Active Prince William, a group that along with the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club joined the Coalition for Smarter Growth’s criticism of the NVTA proposal, said the plan has it “backwards.”

“The NVTA is assuming just one wish list of projects before modeling any scenarios such as autonomous vehicles, increased telecommuting or pricing tools,” he said.

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