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Fairfax County has looked at taking over control of its own roads for years, and Supervisor John Cook, Braddock Republican, has made it a key plank of his re-election campaign against Democrat Susan Oleszek.

“When I talk about local control, the word ‘control’ is important,” Mr. Cook said. That means we get to make the decisions. Cities and towns already do. The county does not. If the state’s going to require localities to fund maintenance, then it should give localities the ability to pay for it.”

But Bob Chase, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, said that cost-effectiveness was the key.

“Can you ensure that by turning responsibility over to localities that the road networks for which they are responsible are maintained in an adequate manner?” he said. “Whether you pay local taxes, state taxes, federal taxes — it’s all coming out of your pocket. What you’re looking for as a taxpayer: ‘Is it cost-effective to do it?’ “