Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne on Thursday said the state hopes to extend the high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-95 about 10 miles south to Fredericksburg. The proposal was one of several rail and road programs in the I-95 corridor that the state has clustered into a package called the “Atlantic Gateway,” and Virginia is about to apply for federal grants to support the effort. Another element on the highway portion of the initiative would eliminate the infamous pinch point on the southbound side of Interstate 395 near Duke Street.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
This month the Prince William Chamber of Commerce added Allison Haught to their staff in the newly created position of Membership Sales Representative. Allison will work full-time focusing on membership recruitment and development, operating out of the Chamber’s Headquarters office in Manassas. To date she has successfully expanded Chamber membership by 11 new members in less than two weeks.
PRTC fares to rise; Will Prince William give $6 million?
The bad news: Bus fares for riders in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park will increase 5% next year. Also, services like the Capitol Hill OmniRide route will be discontinued, and select trips and some neighborhood OmniRide routing on OmniRide routes will be eliminated. And trips on Manassas-area OmniLink service will be reduced by 25 percent. The good news: it’s not as worse as some county transit officials feared. In January, officials painted a dire picture for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Board of Commissioners, warning that a $9.2 million budget shortfall could end commuter bus service in the county as we know it. Instead of Washington, D.C., buses would take passengers only to Metro stations if the agency couldn’t find the operating cash in its 2017 budget.
Mapping the sorry state of America’s bridges
About 10 percent of America’s 600,000 bridges are structurally deficient, requiring “significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement,” according to a 2013 report by Transportation for America. Many of them have exceeded their intended lifespan by more than a decade, and yet Americans continue to use them, taking 260 million trips over deficient bridges on a daily basis. Alarming stuff, especially now that the cartographer and GIS consultant Jonah Adkins offers us a new opportunity to stare down this data on a map. In the new dot map Bridges of America, Adkins lays out the sorry facts of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory, which accounts for data on bridge type, structural conditions, average daily traffic, and more, going back to 1992. You can zoom and explore the country’s bridgespans and viaducts by their daily traffic count or by their condition: “Ok,” “Structurally Deficient,” or “Functionally Obsolete.”
A decade after the collapse of the housing market set into motion a series of events that brought the national economy to its knees, the country is mire in another housing crisis. We’re out of the frying pan of speculative excess and into a subtler and more insidious problem of chronic undersupply. A country that’s always prided itself on open spaces, abundant housing, and ample opportunity now has too few homes and is building too few to keep up with its needs. That’s the bad news. The good news is that unlocking the stuck glue of housing supply would solve multiple economic problems at once. Most obviously, people could have more and better places to live. But beyond that, a surge in housing building would also be the jobs engine the country needs – decently paying blue-collar work that isn’t going to be outsourced to China.
Government Affairs Coordinator