Monday, April 20, 2009

DATA Board of Directors and General Membership Meeting

DATA Board of Directors and General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
7:30 AM - Registration
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Program

Host: Greg Langweg, Hilton Washington Dulles Airport

Ronaldo T. "Nick" Nicholson, P.E.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Mega Project Program Director

Location: Hilton Washington Dulles Airport
Mosby Room
13869 Park Center Road
Herndon, Virginia 20171

If you are planning on attending the DATA Board Meeting, please email, if you have any questions, please contact Jim Larsen at 703-380-5645. We look forward to seeing you there.


From Washington, D.C.

Interstate 66 West merge onto VA-267 W Dulles Toll Road via exit 67 toward DULLES AIRPORT (9 Miles). From the Dulles Toll Road, take Exit 9, Route 28 South/Centreville (15 Miles). Exit at McLearen Road (3 Miles), turn left at 1st light on Towerview and make 1st left on Park Center Road. Follow .1 mile, the hotel is on your left.

DATA’s 23rd Annual Anniversary Celebration & Awards Ceremony

DATA’s 23rd Annual Anniversary Celebration & Awards Ceremony
Thursday, May 7, 2009
6:00 pm
Location: Hilton Washington Dulles Airport

This will include a presentation of the first ever DATAs, awards for outstanding contribution to transportation solutions or demand management in Northern Virginia. If you’re a DATA member, business leader or a TDM professional, this is the networking evening you won’t want to miss. Being a sponsor showcases your company to state, regional and local government leaders

Reception begins at 6:00 p.m.

Special Guest and Keynote Remarks:
Honorable Pierce Homer
Secretary of Transportation

Master of Ceremonies:
Doug Koelemay, Commonwealth Transportation Board

Business Attire

Please put this very important date on your calendars. If you have any questions, or would like to help sponsor this event, please call, Jim Larsen at 703-380-5645 or email

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Loudon Times-Mirror The time is now to push for rail's second phase

The time is now to push for rail's second phase
By Staff

It took nearly 40 years, several billion dollars and more than a few bruised egos, but Metrorail service is finally coming to the Dulles corridor. That point was made official last week when Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, known as MWAA, and U.S. Transportation Department officials finalized a long-awaited deal for $900 million in federal funding.

MWAA, which will manage the 23.2-mile rail extension, is already moving forward on the project's first phase, slated to run from East Falls Church to Reston with four stops in the Tysons Corner area.

Over the next 36 months, Route 7 will be widened to four lanes in each direction and a long, above-ground rail line will split east- and westbound drivers.

If everything goes off without a hitch, trains will begin rolling through Tysons in late 2013.

That's the good news.

Less clear is the timetable for the project's 11.5-mile second phase. Those counting on the "Silver Line" pulling into Dulles Airport by 2020 need the first phase to be delivered on time and within budget.

At the moment, more than a few question marks surround the Reston-to-Loudoun route, which will take at least five years to build, has no set start date and no clear financing plan beyond jacking up fees on the Dulles Toll Road.

We're not suggesting rail won't make it west of Reston in our collective lifetime. It will.

Of more concern at this juncture is the eerie silence we hear whenever rail timelines are discussed in places like Herndon and Ashburn.

The hope here is that rail officials, elected leaders and the local business community will exhibit as much passion, energy and creativity in getting a train to Dulles Airport as they did getting it through Tysons Corner.

Although the rules of this particular game have changed countless times, the original justification for building rail was giving Dulles Airport passengers a transit link to Washington, D.C. It remains one of the few international airports in the world not served by a rail line.

The sooner we can change that, the better.

Washington Post Editorial - March 18

Spot On
Planners should vote to widen Interstate 66.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009; A12

TRAFFIC SNARLS in Northern Virginia are so daunting that it sometimes seems that nothing less than transformational, earth-shifting projects can ease congestion. Yet, for every rail line to Dulles International Airport, there are small-scale fixes that can make life a little better for commuters. Such is the case with a long-stalled project to widen spots of Interstate 66, the perpetually clogged artery that runs through much of Northern Virginia, including Arlington and Fairfax counties. Adding lanes to three noncontiguous segments of the highway inside the Beltway won't turn I-66 into a speedway but could shave crucial minutes off drive times, not to mention generating construction jobs at a crucial time. Regional planners voted recently to delay the plan. They should reverse that decision when they meet today.

Transit advocates and Arlington residents have long opposed any expansion of I-66, a step they consider an affront to smart growth and an enabler of sprawl. When Arlington leaders reluctantly agreed to allow the highway in the 1970s, they extracted a number of concessions, including a pledge to limit the number of lanes. Many Arlington residents see that promise as sacred, but, as Post columnist Marc Fisher reported, then-U.S. Transportation Secretary William Coleman wrote in 1977 that "we cannot guarantee that I-66 will never change." At the time, few could have imagined that road congestion in Northern Virginia would worsen so severely so soon.

Yet, despite excruciating traffic, the project continues to be bogged down in unwieldy bureaucracy and endless studies. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Transportation Planning Board approved the project in May 2007, then surprisingly voted to postpone construction last month. The first phase, a 1.5-mile widening of I-66 between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street, was set to start next year. Planners say they were unclear about the status of a promised Virginia Department of Transportation study on transportation options in the I-66 corridor. Pierce R. Homer, Virginia's transportation secretary, has said a study is underway and will be completed later in the year.

There is too much momentum behind the expansion of I-66 and too little downside to let the project languish. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R) and former representative Tom Davis (R) secured about $30 million in federal earmarks for the widening; the money can't be transferred to other projects. Adding lanes to the highway won't require tearing down homes, as the expansion would take place within the current highway footprint. Shoulders would be narrowed at points, but transit officials say there would still be enough room for vehicles to pull over. The sooner construction starts, the more likely the project is to benefit from federal stimulus money. There should be no further delay.

VDOT cuts spur rural safety concerns

By Rachana Dixit from - Charlottesville, VA

Published: March 18, 2009

Proposed reductions in service and road maintenance by the Virginia Department of Transportation have area officials concerned that the move would make rural roads unsafe or inaccessible during bad weather.

A VDOT spokesman, however, said Tuesday that those concerns are unfounded, as the agency has no intention to change its bad-weather operations.

Adapting to a difficult economy and declining transportation revenues, VDOT is proposing to do fewer routine road maintenance measures, such as grading unpaved roads and mowing vegetation. According to the agency’s Web site, that could mean rural roads would be plowed and salted less quickly during snow and ice storms.

If such a reduction in maintenance and road treatment were approved, Albemarle County schools’ transportation director said, it could become very difficult or even perilous for students and drivers to get to school during bad weather, forcing the locality to cancel school for more days.

“We would have more snow days and have to go to school longer in June,” Josh Davis said.

Agency spokesman Lou Hatter said the information about bad weather on VDOT’s site is outdated or incorrect, as the agency is not planning to reduce services in emergency response or inclement weather.

“There is no proposal to change that,” he said, referring to standards for snow removal. “The standards will stay the same as what they are.”

According to VDOT’s Web site, secondary paved roads that see average daily traffic of fewer than 750 vehicles would be plowed and opened within 48 hours or once busier roads are complete, whereas currently those secondary roads are plowed and opened within half that time. Additionally, the site states, secondary unpaved roads that see the same amounts of traffic could be closed periodically or for the duration of the winter.

Davis said that in some of Albemarle’s rural districts, more than 20 percent of students live on unpaved roads. Davis also said that more than 50 percent of Albemarle students live in rural areas and that 65 percent to 85 percent of the student populations of some schools live on roads that would not be treated under VDOT’s proposal.

“Our total number of students that are impacted are about at least 70 percent,” Davis said.

Mike Skeens, a member of the Greene County Board of Supervisors, said reducing road treatments during snow or ice storms would most assuredly make it difficult for localities whose populations are largely rural.

“We would never be able to get out to some of these schools,” he said.

Mowing will also be done when there are vehicle safety concerns for a particular location, Hatter said, and done less when it is more for aesthetic value. But Hatter added that routine maintenance on unpaved roads is likely to be reduced with the changes.