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Might Virginia's New Governor Halt a Controversial Highway Project?
As the final draft of a programmatic agreement that would "allow the Virginia Department of Transportation to pave the ten-mile Bi-County Parkway over the western edge of Manassas National Battlefield Park" awaits signature by federal and state officials, opponents of the project are buoyed by the prospect that a new Democratic administration may seek alternatives to the plan put forth by former Gov. Bob McDonnell.
"[During the campaign, Gov. Terry] McAuliffe promised to look at the proposed north-south highway between I-66 and Rt. 50 before lending his administration’s support," writes Martin Di Caro. "On Monday, a spokeswoman for VDOT said the new administration, including new Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, is reviewing the Bi-County Parkway and the final draft of the programmatic agreement that was the product of the previous administration’s work."
In a boost to opponents of the prior administration's "wasteful highway pet projects", Navid Roshan-Afshar reported this week that the McAuliffe administration has already halted work on the 460 Bypass project, a $1.4 billion, 55-mile toll road between Suffolk and Petersburg that was one of former Gov. Bob McDonnell's top road building priorities.
"Whether the new administration in Richmond will accept the proposed agreement concerning Manassas battlefield is unclear," adds Di Caro. "Although the signing of the programmatic agreement would be a significant step toward realizing the construction of the Bi-County Parkway, important hurdles would remain."