Gerry Connolly on land use and transportation

VA-11 candidates on traffic, transit, and density

Connolly is more clearly in favor of density around Metro Stations. Here’s an article about it from the left-leaning (and pro-Byrne) blog Not Larry Sabato, which doesn’t support Tysons density and attacks the rail plan, though many of the commenters disagree.

Connolly also discusses further Metro expansion on his environment page, supporting Metro extensions of the Orange and Yellow lines to Gainesville, Ft. Belvoir, and Potomac Mills, and building the Purple Line. (We’ll put aside for now the question of whether LRT or Metro is better for Ft. Belvoir and other extensions). Byrne makes no mention of transit other than the Silver Line on her site.

On last month’s gas tax debate, according to the Springfield Connection, Byrne focused on the fairly unrealistic “windfall profits tax” idea also pushed by Hillary Clinton, while Connolly is hanging his hopes for the future on our brilliant scientists building a 100-mpg car. Perhaps not surprisingly, neither talks directly about the importance of Fairfax and Prince William growing less auto-dependent, despite plummeting real estate prices in the area for that very reason.

Connolly does show a very good understanding of the relationship between transportation and sprawl in his environmental plan with these points:

  • De-couple federal highway funding from increasing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), eliminating the incentive to build roads that immediately become congested by traffic from sprawl that they induce
  • Enhance share of federal funding for mass transit relative to roads
  • Eliminate funding for highway projects that are not projected to reduce congestion due to induced sprawl

Connolly also supports expanding the bicycle route network and adding funding for bike trails.

Byrne, on the other hand, doesn’t move beyond classic environmental issues in her environmental plan or anywhere else on her site. She’s for cleaner cars, but without mention of fewer highways; for protecting national parkland, but not for greater housing density that would reduce development pressure on greenfields.

Based on this research, it appears that Connolly would be the better candidate on Smart Growth and transportation issues. Anyone have other information to support or refute this?

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