This is frustrating to no end. The Derecho blog reports that the Prince William County BOCS is set to endorse the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s Transaction 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. As is pointed out in that post, tucked away in the plan is the forecast that PWC will continue to have more workers than jobs. Due to this prediction, most transportation projects that would impact the county are not deemed to be cost-effective other than along the lines of “Implement Express Priority Bus service along I-66 from Gainesville to Washington, D.C.”
Even adding parking spaces to VRE lots and expanding VRE station platforms along the Manassas line are viewed as being low on the cost-benefit analysis scale. (Overall, this document is great if you live inside the Beltway and want more bike paths and trails.) It does, however, find that on the east end of the county it is cost-effective to widen River Heritage Blvd. from 2 to 4 lanes between River Ridge and Harbor Station Parkway with a sidewalk and trail. Of course, that could be because it was already built that way as this satellite photo shows…
Meanwhile, this plan says it is not cost-effective to widen Harbor Station Parkway to four lanes from two between River Heritage and Cherry Hill. Guess what? IT ALREADY IS BUILT FOR FOUR LANES.
The bottom line is this. There are two competing visions for our county. One would have it continue on its current path of being more or less a bedroom community where most people travel outside the county to work at high paying jobs (the only reason why the county is ranked in the top 10 wealthiest counties since such salaries are few and far between in the county.) The other vision, the one that I subscribe to, places an emphasis on commercial development so we can bring good paying jobs into our county thereby reducing the number of people who must commute to locations inside the Beltway.
Our Board of Supervisors are set to cast a vote on this tomorrow and given that the NVTA Chairman is one of their own, I have no doubt that this will pass. This isn’t rocket science, folks. There is a reason why Loudoun continues to get all the high tech companies (yes, the forecast similarly predicts they will have more workers than jobs, too, but look at the quality of their jobs vs. those available in PWC which are primarily in the hospitality and retail industries) and why Stafford is snagging most of the defense contractors for Quantico. PWC can be downright hostile to business.
For instance, in April of 2011 at a BOCS meeting, commercial developer Mike Garcia spoke during citizens’ time about the challenges companies face in doing business in the county. According to Mr. Garcia, PWC charges $500 just to obtain a permit in order to move a fire sprinkler head in an office building. That’s per sprinkler head and that does not cover the cost of actually moving it. Moving sprinkler heads is done in order to accommodate the build-out requirements that companies have for office spaces. If another jurisdiction just a few miles down the road doesn’t present such obstacles, where do you think businesses are more likely to locate?
Two visions. One county. Which one do you choose?