One issue that's killing Democrats in Virginia is Arlington's steadfast opposition to widening I-66.
Because Arlington is a Democratic stronghold, statewide candidates who want to court Arlington voters are required to adhere to the I-66 orthodoxy here. That, in turn, hurts them in the larger--and Democratic leaning--counties outside the beltway (Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun). Folks in those counties want better roads, and none is more inadequate than I-66.
Our friend Ben at NLS recently posted his reasoning on why widening I-66 would do no good (it's in the context of a rebuttal to the Washington Post's inexplicable endorsement of Arlington delegate Bob Brink's Republican opponent).
We disagree. Ben's reasoning is that putting more people on I-66 will just add to congestion in Tyson's Corner. That ignores the two fundamental bottlenecks on I-66.
Heading westbound, traffic gets jammed where the double lane Glebe Road on-ramp meets double-lane I-66. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that having a two-lane on-ramp merge into two lanes of interstate highway will quickly jam things up. Adding an additional lane from Glebe Rd. to the Dulles Access Rd. (267) would greatly ameliorate the daily traffic tie-up on I-66 in Arlington. The sad thing is that Arlington's elected officials oppose this fix, even though it is mostly people living and working in ARLINGTON (those getting on at Glebe Rd.) who are hurt by the current abysmal design.
On the eastbound side, there is a similar problem, where the Sycamore Street ramp meets I-66. Too much traffic is coming in from this ramp, causing traffic to slow to a crawl. A little over a mile later, much of that traffic gets off at Glebe Rd. (again proving that much of I-66 traffic is people living and working in Arlington, not just pass-through traffic from the outer suburbs). After Glebe Rd. the traffic clears up. An easy solution to this problem is to extend the ramp from Sycamore St. all the way to the Glebe exit ramp.
These fixes won't solve all of I-66's problems, but they would at least resolve most of the particularly aggravating traffic jams that occur outside of rush hours or against rush hour traffic.
Arlington officials are doing no good for the majority of Arlingtonians by opposing these fixes. While we intend to vote for Bob Brink--because we don't think he's really part of that problem--we do think the Post has a point: it may take getting rid of a few Arlington Democrats to save the rest of Northern Virginia's Democrats, and to bring some sanity to the transportation issue.