April 10, 2012
Loudoun County Government Center
Re: Loudoun County’s Countywide Transportation Plan
President & CEO
Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce
Good evening Mr. Chairman and members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. My name is Tony Howard and I am the President of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.
On behalf of our 1,200 member businesses, I am here this evening to address the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment to the Countywide Transportation Plan for Belmont Ridge Road/Route 659 and Northstar Blvd./Route 659 Relocated.
I will begin by stating the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce overwhelmingly supports this proposal to restore the plan for Northstar Blvd. and Belmont Ridge Road to protect the right-of-way for a potential six-lane roadway, with plans included for bicycle and pedestrian access.
Two years ago, I addressed the Board to express the Chamber’s support for the proposed Countywide Transportation Plan, though with significant reservations about the plan’s serious shortcomings.
Many of those shortcomings involved the decision at that time to ignore the county’s own expert analysis that Loudoun needs improved connections with Maryland, West Virginia and Prince William County.
One of the most serious shortcomings was the effort to choke off access to Prince William County and the I-95 corridor for Loudoun’s residents and business travelers by needlessly diminishing the long planned improvements to this corridor.
This move was made in direct conflict with the county’s own expert analysis that such improvements will ultimately be needed. In addition, this decision would severely damage one of Loudoun’s top economic development priorities, which is to leverage the potential for growth in the cargo and passenger usage at Dulles International Airport.
The Plan Amendment the Board is considering is about protecting Loudoun County’s future transportation options. It is not, as some have wrongly stated, about plowing through local communities with new highways or Outer Beltways.
Protecting transportation options and rights-of-way is smart planning. With this Board’s leadership, Loudoun will continue to create jobs and economic opportunities for its residents.
Adopting this CPAM will protect these options for future Boards and county residents. Rejecting it will needlessly hamper the efforts of future generations of County leaders to properly plan for residential and economic growth.
Just as any smart business owner would, Loudoun County needs to plan for and invest in the infrastructure that is required to support that growth. To do otherwise is a recipe for disaster and regret.
I respectfully request that the Board of Supervisors protect our communities, our taxpayers and our economy by adopting this Comprehensive Plan Amendment, and ensure that future generations of Loudouners have the transportation options they will need to protect the prosperity and quality life that we hope to leave as our legacy.
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