In a desperate move to draw votes in Northern Virginia, the McDonnell campaign has latched onto what was a failed plan for the Kilgore campaign four years ago: widening Route 66 inside the Beltway. Yesterday, in a radio ad from the US Chamber of Commerce, I heard a grandfatherly voice praising Bob for his plan.
I'm no civil engineering expert, but I can think of a few reasons why this would be impossible or unworkable:
1. Whose houses in Arlington and Falls Church are you going to tear down in order to build the extra lanes?
2. How will this help traffic when there is still a bottleneck at the Rosslyn Tunnel?
3. Adding more lanes will inevitably increase traffic flow, which would turn Constitution Avenue into a parking lot.
Lastly, it's practically illegal. According to the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation,
Widening I-66 violates the Coleman Decision and associated agreements between the USDoT, Virginia, and local residents.
The Coleman Decision, rendered by then-USDoT Secretary William Coleman on January 5, 1977, was an historic compromise that allowed I-66 to be created inside the Beltway by "guaranteeing" a four-lane limit. Further breaching this compromise would show nationally that highway agency promises to communities are worthless.
But Bob's campaign is betting on the votes of weary commuters looking for false salvation. I wonder if there are some Arlingtonians out there who would be willing to speak out against this.