Virginia officials now have a list of projects they'd like private companies to help pay for.
The list of public-private projects accompanies last year's $4 billion set aside for such projects by Gov. Bob McDonnell. The money has already been used to help build a tunnel in Hampton Roads and the Interstate 95 express lanes.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton said the list was created to let people know what projects for which the state is seeking private-sector help and to see what companies are interested in helping out, rather than just waiting for private companies to propose projects.
"We never had these lists before because we were responding to the private sector. What we're trying to do now is identify the projects in advance," Connaughton said.
Several Northern Virginia projects -- including improvements along Interstate 95 and Interstate 66 -- are already being planned. Others -- including an extension of Beltway express lanes and a Metro station at Washington Dulles International Airport -- are more speculative and would require more planning.
Some projects on the list will be controversial. Local activists worry the "north-south corridor" for Northern Virginia included on the list will become an "outer Beltway," a proposed roadway that has been delayed for decades by local concerns over its environmental impact and the potential sprawl it could create.
"I'm glad we have a list," said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. "But what I don't understand is, as the state of Virginia, how are we making fully informed decisions about where we are spending our transportation dollars."
Connaughton said the connector road would not loop around all of the D.C. metro area like the Beltway, but would only link Interstate 95 and Route 7.
Delegate Joe May, R-Loudoun, said he didn't think McDonnell or others would push through projects -- including an outer Beltway -- without support from lawmakers.
"I would expect that all of us would have some opportunity to hear about them and weigh in on them, either for or against, before anything much happens," he said.
Virginians can leave comments about proposed projects through July 2. Go to vappta.org for more information.