COVID-19 isn’t stopping Northern Va’s traffic decongestion projects

Virginia

The NVTA has been able to preserve all project funding through 2023.

NORTHERN VIRGINIA (WDVM) — The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will move ahead with over $1 billion in projects it laid out in its Six Year Program to reduce traffic congestion.

The NVTA has been able to preserve all project funding through 2023. On May 14, the authority adopted additional recommendations to update the Six Year Program with an additional $522 million in funding to ensure multimodal projects move forward. The NVTA is analyzing the pandemic’s short-term and long-term implications on the economy, regional funding programs, and its environmental impacts. NVTA Executive Director Monica Backmon is speaking with Northern Virginia businesses to analyze the effects of COVID-19 while the transportation and planning team is looking at this year’s congestion patterns. The NVTA expects to complete its COVID-19 analysis and share its findings by July. 

While the Six Year Program prioritizes congestion reduction, Backmon says the projects also have a positive economic impact. 

“The continuation of these projects keeps the economy moving. They keep people employed,” Backmon said. “Every dollar we spend, the return on that investment is so much greater. So it’s important for us to make sure that we’re not only making these investments, but when we do see a turnaround regarding the economy and the commuting situation, we would want to make sure that we’re doing our part to help the economy and keep people employed.” 

COVID-19 has caused a $240 million reduction in NVTA revenues, but Backmon says it hasn’t affected the NVTA’s operating budget. Backmon is not anticipating any layoffs. She says the NVTA’s preparedness and willingness to taper its funding in the event of an economic disruption (like COVID-19) is a reflection of the NVTA’s leadership. 

The NVTA is chaired by Phyllis Randall of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and co-chaired by Mayor Hal Parrish of the City of Manassas. Other members include Mayor David Meyer of the City of Fairfax, Councilmember David Snyder of the City of Falls Church, Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, Chairman Jeff McKay of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Chairwoman Ann Wheeler of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Mayor Justin Wilson of the City of Alexandria, and Mayor Jeanette Rishell of Manassas Park.

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