Friday, May 3, 2013

A look at the Commonwealth Transportation Board members

The 17-member Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is appointed by the governor. They set the "administrative policies for Virginia's transportation system. The CTB allocates highway funding to specific projects, locates routes and provides funding for airports, seaports and public transportation. When FABB ask for funding from VDOT for bicycle projects, those hearings are held before the CTB. The CTB updates the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) every year. "The CTB allocates funds for the first fiscal year of the SYIP but the remaining five years are estimates of future allocations." See a summary of this decision-making process in the first part of this presentation.

The Tysons Corner recently published "Commonwealth Transportation Board: Who Are They?" a look at the members of the Board:
The CTB is similar to a board of directors for a college, possessing no ability to enact policy or make final budget decisions, but capable of guiding the conversation, acting as go-betweens in the process from public need to master plan to construction. At least that is the intended purpose.

Over the past decade there has been growing discontent from the public that transportation needs are not being adequately met. Some projects which face local opposition are strong armed through politically, while others that enjoy near universal approval (such as a comprehensive plan for the Safe Routes to School project) are ignored or otherwise unfunded.

So who are these appointed members who are meant to make our transportation network work better? And why is Virginia’s transportation network, specifically Northern Virginia’s, continuously ranked below average or near the bottom even though our spending per capita on transportation (at approximately $4 billion per year) is consistently at the top.

Gary Garczynsky

Mr. Garczynsky isn’t just from the home building and real estate industry, he’s a hall of famer. As Northern Virginia’s representative on the CTB he has been silent on popular small scale transit solutions such as Light Rail in Arlington, bus route expansion, or urban development. That might be because when you develop over 6000 houses and serve as president of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association AND president of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, you often find yourself out pushing the fringes of the existing development zones. Which might explain why he is such a vocal proponent of the Outer Beltway, a project that will benefit less than 0.3% of the Northern Virginia population, while using up over $1 billion dollars of much needed funds. The project will come very close to his offices in Woodbridge (a town on the cross roads of the Prince William Parkway and I-95).

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