To the editor:
Arlington’s filing of a federal lawsuit to block the HOT project is disappointing, damaging and hypocritical.
Disappointing because Virginia officials had already announced a delay to address local concerns and funding issues. Yet, Arlington County has proceeded with a federal lawsuit to block the project.
Damaging because private money is the only money available for major new projects in Virginia currently. Private investment is funding projects like the HOT project on the Capital Beltway currently under way and would also fund the I-395 and I-95 project. This suit will discourage other potential private investors from considering public-private partnership work in Virginia, and will also make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the contractor on the I-395/95 HOT Lanes project to borrow to build the project, given a pending federal lawsuit.
Hypocritical because the suit is being filed on environmental grounds, alleging the project could possibly have negative environmental impacts on parts of Arlington. Does Arlington not think that having a hundred thousand vehicles or more barely moving for miles every morning and evening has no bad environmental impact on its environment and citizens? Is this not the county that is urging more mass transit and car pooling as our transportation solutions and yet is now blocking a project that would encourage and expand carpooling and bus ridership by expanding the number of lanes that would be free to carpoolers and buses?
Unfortunately for our region, Arlington is already responsible for some of our region’s worst gridlock the terrible congestion on I-66 every day by blocking added capacity on that artery and opposing improvements to it. Now this jurisdiction is taking ownership of the daily gridlock on I-395 and I-95 by blocking improvements there. In a region that suffers the nation’s second worst congestion, one would think finding solutions rather than blocking them would be in everyone’s best interest.
Mahlon G. “Lon” Anderson
AAA Mid-Atlantic director of public and government affairs