Leadership Arlington Speaker Series Presentation


(Friday, February 9, 2007 11:29 AM EST)

Thinking broadly, and regionally, about the area's transportation challenges was the dominant theme at the Leadership Arlington Speaker Series presentation on Jan. 25.

Commonwealth Transportation Board member Doug Koelemay, County Board member Jay Fisette and President & CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Jim Bennett addressed the Northern Virginia transportation issue in a presentation to local community leaders. They all stressed the need for long-term solutions

“Transportation is part of community lives, community business, communities' economic development, and it can't be left alone,” Koelemay said. “It's all built as a very complex system.”

In the next 25 years, it's expected that millions more people, needing millions of jobs, will move to the metro area. The question is not only where they will live or work, but how transportation will be affected, Fisette said.

“We have to try to raise visibility and awareness of this problem from the grassroots level,” Fisette said.

He emphasized that the problem does not have a one-project solution. Fundamental changes to the system have to occur to make a marked improvement in transportation.

“Widening roads to solve the transportation problem is like loosening a belt to solve obesity,” he said.

Ideas the trio posited to improve the transportation system for the future included improving land use, making the existing system more reliable and efficient, creating more homes and jobs in existing activity centers, working more regionally and extending rail to Dulles.

Bennett extensively discussed the benefits of extending rail to Dulles, trumpeting that the Airports Authority will dedicate right of way for rail to be built on their land at no cost. He strongly supports the Dulles Corridor proposal, which would make the Airports Authority responsible for the Dulles Toll Road and for financing the Dulles Metrorail project.

“I think it's an efficient way to improve transportation,” he said.

Leadership Arlington, established in 1998, offers numerous panel discussions each year to its members, who number almost 300. The organization seeks to enlighten, inspire and connect leaders to strengthen Arlington's community.

To learn more about Leadership Arlington, call (703) 528-2522 or visit the Web site at www.leadershiparlington.org.

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