[Richmond, VA] A Sierra Club report released today is highly critical of Governor McDonnell’s Transportation Program. The Governor’s frantic road building program is headed the wrong way, and will make it more difficult to invest in transportation alternatives in the future.
The theme of the Governor’s Transportation Conference this week is “Gateway to the World,” but looking at his plan to spend billions in borrowed money building major, unneeded and destructive roadways, a better title might be “Highways to more Gridlock.”
The Virginia Chapter Sierra Club’s report “21st Century Green Transportation, A Vision for Virginia” points out the faults of the Governor’s big road projects and lays out a vision for smarter, cleaner transportation and more livable communities for the Commonwealth.
“The Governor’s big road projects will only benefit private highway companies, sprawl developers, and Big Coal, not the people of Virginia,” said Roger Diedrich, Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter Transportation Chair.
The report points out flaws in four of the Governor’s priority projects:
• The Route 460 Corridor Improvements Project between Petersburg and Hampton Roads,
• The Route 29 Bypass in Charlottesville,
• The Outer Beltway Corridor in Northern Virginia, and
• The Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia.
The Governor’s heavy reliance on road building is right out of the last century when more and wider highways were seen as the solution to traffic problems. But the old way did not work. It only led to more sprawl, and more congested roads and some of the worst traffic in the country.
“Virginia needs to focus more on moving people and goods, and less on moving more cars and more trucks,” said Diedrich. “We cannot simply drive our way out of congestion. We need to make smart investments in more public transit, and bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities. In addition, transportation planning and community planning need to be closely coordinated.”
The report also highlights the benefits of Virginia’s intercity passenger rail service and of moving freight to rail and taking more trucks off of our highways.
The report is available online at: http://vasierraclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/VA_Transportation_Vision.pdf