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Fairfax hopes for high turnout at new round of transportation meetings

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Photo - Tysons Corner (Examiner file photo)
Tysons Corner (Examiner file photo)
Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

Fairfax County officials are pushing a series of public meetings on the need for expanded Metro lines, new light-rail systems and additional bus lanes, even though previous attempts at public forums have fallen flat.

September meetings about establishing new taxes to pay for roads were poorly attended. But board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova said she expects high attendance at this month's meetings because they'll determine the type of transit systems needed to accommodate massive development in the county.

Bulova said she expects talks to center on expanding public transit along Route 1 and in Reston, as well as creating more infrastructure in parts of the county where transit is limited, especially near Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly and Centreville.

Rather than focus on Metro lines and streetcars, Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, said he plans to push the importance of bus rapid transit systems in the area.

"We're going to have a real problem if this study comes back and says we need rail everywhere," Herrity said. "We really should be focusing on BRT. I think that'll have a much greater impact in Tysons, and it will have lower operating costs."

The county has not yet established ways to fund many of the future projects, but Supervisor Jeff McKay, D-Lee, said he had "no high expectation" that any federal or state funding will bail out the county.

"These meetings are not about defining a funding plan," Bulova said. "They're mainly about finding where the needs for transit are and where it already exists but needs extensions."

She said the meetings were the first step in helping the county "realize our vision" of creating better connections for residents to and from areas of large development, such as the county's plan to turn Tysons from a midsized office park into an urban downtown.

The meetings are scheduled to run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and will take place on Nov. 13 at Stenwood Elementary School (2620 Gallows Rd.) and Nov. 15 at Key Middle School (6402 Franconia Rd.).

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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