Local Candidates Speak Out on Widening I-66

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OCTOBER 31, 1999

    Over the past week, Madison Manor Citizens Association's I-66 Committee asked candidates running in local Arlington elections whether they support the proposal to widen I-66.  The candidates issued the statements below.  Madison Manor neighbors are encouraged to vote on Tuesday, November 2, 1999, for the candidates of their choice.  Neighbors wishing to assist the I-66 Committee's efforts may contact chair Miriam Rollin at 538-7981 (or via e-mail: "stopwider66@aol.com").

(Voters may vote for two of the four candidates.)

Paul Ferguson (D): "I strongly oppose any widening of I-66 in Arlington.  Rail extension to Tysons Corner, Reston and Dulles Airport is what is needed.  I serve on two bipartisan regional transportation commissions consisting of elected officials from Northern Virginia.  We have identified consensus transportation improvements in what is called the 2020 Plan. This plan does not include widening of I-66 in Arlington.  I will continue to urge Governor Gilmore and Congressman Wolf to fund projects which have regional consensus.  If my efforts are unsuccessful, I will support having Arlington County take legal action to defend the Coleman decision."

Frances Finta (R): "I agree with criticisms directed toward Governor Gilmore and Congressman Wolf for moving ahead with the suggestion to widen I-66 through Arlington without first consulting local authorities. The suggestion is now in the public realm and cannot be ignored.  In conjunction with the widening of I-66, other traffic management methods were also broached--light rail and telecommuting.  As part of a package that included environmental impact statements, rail extension to Dulles and Centreville, telecommuting, parking lots at strategic locations and no loss of land by Arlington, I would support the widening of I-66 from North Glebe Road westward."

Mike Lane (R): "The Governor missed a prime opportunity to advance a regional solution to our regional transportation problems.  Advancing a plan to widen I-66 inside the beltway without simultaneously linking plans to extend Metrorail to Dulles Airport through Tyson's Corner, is mistaken policy.  It places in jeopardy the likelihood that Northern Virginia will achieve a comprehensive solution to our transportation woes.  Northern Virginia's transportation woes MUST be dealt with in a comprehensive regional approach.  This includes more metro parking, light rail on Columbia Pike, and other transit options.  I have spoken with the Governor several times about Arlington's transportation needs.  He has listened, but he apparently hasn't heard.  The Governor's failure to consult closely with Arlington on this issue is a slap in the face to our citizens who are most directly affected by this proposal.  I call on the Governor today to initiate a community planning process that will afford Arlingtonians the opportunity of a seat at the table as we approach the final decision."

Charles Monroe (D): "Since Congressman Frank Wolf first proposed the widening of I-66, I have been adamantly against it.  The "Coleman Agreement" provided, given the destruction of Arlington neighborhoods to build I-66, there would be no widening of the highway inside the beltway.  This provision was to prospectively protect our communities and greenspace.  As third-party beneficiaries of that agreement, Arlington has standing to sue, and I advocate we initiate suit given any breach of that agreement.  The widening of Maryland's I-270 failed to alleviate congestion.  Arlington should not bear the burden of the outer lying suburbs' failed development and transportation policies."


Scott Tate (R): "I am against the widening of I-66, inbound or outbound, through Arlington.  An agreement was made with Arlington, twenty years ago, that stipulated the width, number of lanes, noise barriers, etc.  As the building of I-66 through Arlington was a controversial project, that create an artificial barrier through the heart of North Arlington, these concessions were made.  It is not acceptable to violate the conditions of that agreement now, especially for the benefit of Fairfax and Loudon commuters that chose to live further away from their place of work.  What is needed is a comprehensive road, rail, and telecommuting package designed to not just lay asphalt, but move people via mass transit, and move bits via telecommuting."

Mary Margaret Whipple (D): "There is no allowance for the project to widen I-66 through Arlington County in the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission's 2020 plan. No other plan for this project has been made public and no funding is currently available.  The Governor has announced his intention of using "tobacco settlement money" as a fast-track funding mechanism for this project.  I am not convinced that this is very likely to occur.  As a member of both the Senate Transportation Committee and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, I shall continue to work to extend rail out the I-66 and Dulles corridors.  This would move people not their vehicles, cut commuting time for those in outlying suburbs and help maintain healthful air-quality in Northern Virginia.  I am convinced that additional traffic lanes will only generate the cars to fill them.  I have recently reviewed the Coleman Decision which originally limited I-66 to the four lanes that exist and I believe Arlington could again successfully challenge the widening of I-66.  Be assured that I shall oppose efforts to widen I-66 in Arlington."


Whitney Adams (R): "I support Congressman Wolf's proposal to widen I-66 inside the beltway west bound. I also support Congressman Wolf's efforts to secure more funding for increased parking facilities for the Vienna and Falls Church Metro Stations.  I believe that this proposal is a balanced approach and serves the interests of both encouraging increased use of rapid transit as well as reducing a major bottleneck that causes increased traffic to spill into adjoining Arlington County neighborhoods."

Janet Howell (D): "Our priority should be rail through Tysons and to Dulles and extending the Orange Line to Centreville immediately.  That would reduce the need for widening.  I oppose the widening unless an agreement can be reached with all concerned parties, including Arlington County.  The widening would have numerous negative impacts:

1.  The money used would be better spent on rail.  Our resources are so limited we cannot spend it on such a project.
2.  It will not solve the problem.  It will only move the bottlenecks.
3.  It will cause tremendous disruptions to neighborhoods.
4.  It will also cause tremendous disruptions on I-66 itself.
5.  An agreement was reached (the Coleman Compromise) in which it was decided I-66 would never be more than two lanes each way.  Washington and Richmond should not arbitrarily break such an agreement without participation of all parties.

I will work with the delegation to Richmond, the Arlington County Board and community groups to make sure this doesn't occur without agreement of the concerned parties.  My opponent Whitney Adams has stated her support of the widening and her appreciation to Frank Wolf for his efforts at candidate forums in Vienna and McLean."

(Voters may vote for one candidate.)

Jim Almand (D): "I oppose the proposed widening of I-66 inside the Beltway because it was suggested without consulting with Arlington citizens or going through the regional transportation council.  It violates the Coleman decision made in 1977. I will do all I can to stop this proposal."

Robb Metry (R): "As I have stated numerous time on the campaign trail, I am in personal opposition to the widening of I-66 inside Arlington.  I live within what would likely be a construction zone on N. Washington Blvd., and am concerned about what the impact of that construction on our neighborhood, and on property values. That said, I am aware that the Coleman agreement limiting the width of the highway has been pushed aside by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.  If this is widening is going to take place it has to be part of a comprehensive transportation plan for all of Northern Virginia, which includes extension of the Metro line at least to Centreville and possibly Manassas (with additional parking at each station from East Falls Church on), and construction of a light rail line to Dulles."


Bob Brink (D): "I oppose the proposed widening of I-66.  Abrogating a 20-year old agreement with the citizens of Arlington, without consulting the community or involving the regional transportation planning process, was high-handed and arrogant. Arlingtonians fought hard in the 1970s to secure features in the design of I-66 that made it more tolerable.  I will work with Arlington's delegation in Richmond, the County Board and the community to ensure that these features are preserved, that safety and the environment are protected, and -- most important -- that mass transit is the key to solving the congestion problem in this corridor."

John Massoud (R): "I oppose the widening of I-66.  We should all learn the lessons of Maryland in the widening of I-270, and understand that more pavement is not necessarily the answer.  We must look at more Metro access.  While I am a supporter of a Dulles rail, this is not the only answer.  We need more Metro parking. We have one of the best subway systems around, but what good does it do if people who live more than one mile away from a station can't park?  I don't think this is an issue that can or should be "demagoged" by politicians. But it is a serious one that requires study." 


Karen Darner (D): "I am opposed to widening of I-66 - there is no attempt to reduce the number of cars on the roads, and anytime you have a multitude of lanes funneling into one, two, three bridges, there will continue to be monstrous traffic on I-66, and then there will be many of those who decide to "cut-through" Arlington's residential streets to find another way.  Speed and number of cars are making our streets very dangerous, and other means of transportation must be found."