Brian Fauls, Government Affairs Manager
Okay, to be fair, the whole world did not come out to Liberty Elementary School last month to give the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) a piece of their mind regarding a proposed new road to Dulles Airport, but it sure seemed like it. I’ve been to a few VDOT meetings on road projects. I have never seen the kind of crowd I saw at Liberty Elementary School, not even at VDOT’s local meetings on the controversial Bi-County Parkway (another road that is desperately needed).
I would love to say that 500 or so people came out on a Tuesday night to show their support for Dulles Airport – one of Loudoun County and Northern Virginia’s most important economic engines. I would love to say that. Unfortunately, I can’t. I personally didn’t hear much talk about which of the options being presented would best facilitate getting people to and from the Airport and the new Route 606 Metro Station. What I heard was a whole lot of NIMBYism enflamed by a populism campaign – complete with volunteers giving out lapel stickers bashing the road alternative not favored by the politicians behind the campaign.
To make matters worse, a different NIMBY populist campaign has been started up by different politicians to bash the alternative favored by the first group of politicians – complete with scare tactics and hinted at charges of crony capitalism (i.e. did you know that alternative X goes by property owned by a person who supports the politicians backing that other alternative).
No public works project is without controversy. But one of the primary reasons Loudoun County and Northern Virginia have some of the most congested roads in the country is because far too many good road projects succumbed to political backbiting over the last 50 years. Building a road to Dulles Airport and the Route 606 Metro Station is about encouraging economic growth and jobs. Hey Loudoun’s leaders, let’s focus on that.