Metro: Bill would potentially extend Virginia lines

A bill that would potentially extend Metrorail farther into Virginia to ease area traffic congestion has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. It comes as the Washington area was listed as having the second-worst commute in the nation.

Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran have suggested a study of 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 of western Fairfax County.

The bill would study how an extension of the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines would impact congestion on the highways.

“We need to look at solutions that take cars off the roads and provide viable transportation alternatives for our citizens,” Connolly says. “Whether or not we determine that Metrorail is the best solution, we must begin the conversation now.”

Congressman Moran says Northern Virginia’s roads are the most congested with some commuters sitting in traffic for hours each day.

“Every $1 invested in public transit yields $4 in economic benefits. As the population in this region continues to grow, so much our public transportation infrastructure,” Moran says.

The bill 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, extension of the Orange Line to Centreville, and extension of the Yellow line along the Route 1 corridor, including Fort Belvoir.

Connolly says not only would the extensions reduce traffic congestion, it would boost the economy.

“We have already experienced the benefits of transit-oriented development along Metro lines in Arlington, Alexandria, Vienna, Merrifield and Tysons,” he says.

Tuesday’s Census report lists the average one-way commute for the D.C. region in 2011 as roughly 34 minutes. The national average is about 25 minutes.