- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Traffic-weary commuters met with Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine last night, offering their solutions to free a seemingly endless river of cars that clog the streets of suburban Washington.

Those who gathered at George Mason High School in Falls Church offered many suggestions for improvements, including widening Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, telecommuting, making better decisions about new development and even trying to bring more civility to the roads.

“Metro is not a silver bullet,” said Laurie Cole a member of the Vienna Town Council. “It can’t handle all the development that’s being piled onto it.”

She warned that plans for high-density development at Tysons Corner and the Vienna Metrorail station would overwhelm Metro’s Orange Line, which is already packed at rush hour.

Jonathan Pick of Woodbridge told Mr. Kaine that he wanted to see more affordable housing closer to the city so people would not have to travel long distances to get to work.

Einar Olsen of Arlington asked about a third lane for hybrid vehicles in the carpool lanes on Interstate 395.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, was greeted by a standing ovation as he began his 10th town hall-style meeting, leading up to his Jan. 14 inauguration in Williamsburg. The final one is scheduled tomorrow night in Virginia Beach.

Mr. Kaine said ideas to improve transportation have varied depending on which region of the state he visits, but almost everyone agrees there is a problem.

Transportation is the most urgent issue facing Virginia, he said. “Costs keep going up, congestion keeps getting worse,” he said.

Mr. Kaine mostly listened.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly told Mr. Kaine the state must provide more resources to local governments, which have raised transit fares and approved millions of dollars in bonds.

“By 2012, Virginia will only have enough money to maintain existing transit infrastructure, not to construct any new facilities,” Mr. Connolly said.

Mr. Kaine is expected to present specific proposals in the coming weeks, either before or during his State of the Commonwealth Address, spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said before last night’s meeting.

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