The Fairfax County government has submitted six roadway projects for potential funding under the “Smart Scale” program of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).
The Board of Supervisors on July 19 endorsed the projects to meet the Aug. 1 application deadline. The roadway initiatives – listed in order of priority, along with the amount of Smart Scale funding sought – include:
- Widening of Richmond Highway (Route 1) between Mount Vernon Highway and Sherwood Hall Lane ($35,000).
- Extension of Frontier Drive between the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and Loisdale Road ($225,000).
- Work toward a proposed Seven Corners ring interchange ($158,000).
- An underpass on Town Center Parkway in Reston ($252,000).
- Widening of Route 7 between Route 123 and Interstate 495 for bus rapid transit ($63,000).
- Widening of Route 7 between Interstates 495 and 66 for bus rapid transit ($85,000).
The General Assembly in 2014 passed legislation creating the prioritization process now called Smart Scale. CTB first used it when developing the Six-Year Improvement Program for fiscal years 2016-21.
The process ranks proposed projects according to weighted criteria, which vary by state transportation district. The criteria weighting used in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg are as follows: congestion mitigation (45 percent), land-use coordination (20), accessibility (15), environmental quality (10), economic development (5) and safety (5).
Smart Scale allows large localities such as Fairfax County to submit no more than 10 applications and to rank them if there’s more than one. No local cash match is needed for the requests.
Fairfax County officials selected the current slate of projects based on if they had been submitted for Smart Scale funding earlier, could meet the requisite criteria, were ready to go, could leverage other funding sources (such as from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority), had implementation timelines under the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan and were balanced geographically.
Supervisors passed the motion unanimously, but not without comment.
Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) said the county needed to re-examine its prioritization of road projects. The county established its priorities in 2014 and, after a 2019 review, pared away some because funding had disappeared, he said.
“I think these are all good projects, but we must look at projects on the table moving forward,” Foust said.