Congressman Gerry Connolly introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman Jim Moran to study the extension of Metrorail into the Woodbridge area of eastern Prince William County, the Richmond Highway corridor of southern Fairfax County, and the Centreville area in western Fairfax County.
The bill would authorize analysis of and project development for extending the existing Orange, Blue, and Yellow Metro lines further into Northern Virginia to serve hundreds of thousands of additional Virginians and get more cars off of the region's congested highways.
"Residents in Prince William and western Fairfax County already experience some of the longest commutes in the nation, and these communities will experience continued growth," Connolly said. "We need to look at solutions that take cars off the roads and provide viable transportation alternatives for our citizens. Whether or not we determine that Metrorail is the best solution, we must begin the conversation now."
"Northern Virginia has the worst traffic in the nation, impacting the quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who sit in traffic hours each day," Moran said. "Public transit is the answer to this unrelenting congestion. It's better for commuters, our economy and the environment. Every $1 invested in public transit yields $4 in economic benefits. As the population in this region continues to grow, so must our public transportation infrastructure."
In September 2011, Connolly jumpstarted the dialogue in Prince William when several hundred interested citizens, elected officials, and experts participated in Connolly's Metro Summit in Woodbridge on the feasibility of bring Metrorail to Prince William.
Connolly's bill, The Northern Virginia Metrorail Extension Act (H.R. 907), cites three potential Metrorail projects:
Extension of the Blue Line along the I-95 corridor, including the Engineer Proving Grounds, through Woodbridge to Potomac Mills in Prince William County;
Extension of the Orange Line to Centerville in western Fairfax County;
Extension of the Yellow Line along the Route 1 corridor, including Fort Belvoir, in Fairfax and Prince William Counties.
Connolly's legislation is in sync with the comprehensive plans for both Fairfax and Prince William Counties, which identify the need to develop alternate transit concepts, including an extension of the existing Metro lines. In addition, Metro's draft strategic plan, Momentum: The Next Generation of Metro, identifies these as expansion future opportunities.
Connolly said the extension of Metro could increase economic growth in the region and minimize additional traffic congestion. "We have already experienced the benefits of transit-oriented development along Metro lines in Arlington, Alexandria, Vienna, Merrifield and Tysons," Connolly said.