You may or may not have heard about undergrounding, but I bet you are in support of removing the ugly electrical lines from our roadways and placing them underground. That’s it – undergrounding! The undergrounding of utilities (electric, fiber, cable, phone) becomes a more important topic every year, as our climate warms and storms become more damaging. As Resilient Fairfax puts it, “Our weather is becoming warmer, wetter and weirder.” We all know this leads to more power outages, traffic disruptions, fires, injuries and even death, particularly in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. I believe that undergrounding of utilities needs to be part of every major County roadway or revitalization improvement discussion. Along with Chairman Jeff McKay and Supervisor Rodney Lusk, we have been supporting funding to include utility undergrounding as part of the more than $1 billion, 7-mile Richmond Highway widening and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
The future is clear, utilities will be undergrounded for our security, reliability, resilience, revitalization, property values and aesthetics, much like we have been requiring for new developments and in our comprehensive plans for years. It is not an “if”, but a how and when. We have watched our neighboring jurisdictions make this commitment and it is time to act for Mount Vernon’s main street NOW. As such, I have shared with my Board colleagues several options to create a funding pool that could be used not only for Richmond Highway, but in future years, for additional areas throughout the County along our major roadways and revitalization areas.
Undergrounding for Richmond Highway is currently supported by the Fairfax County Council of Civic Associations, the Mount Vernon Council of Civic Associations, other area civic associations, Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC), the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and many other area organizations.
I will be bringing this important topic to the Board for consideration at a meeting of the Economic Initiatives Committee on July 26. If you support undergrounding of utilities on Richmond Highway, I urge you to send a letter of support to the Board of Supervisors at ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov and share it with our office. I also ask that you talk to your friends, neighbors and others you know throughout the County to share this information and the opportunity to advocate for this important environmental, economic, quality of life issue. To assist you with this, below we have posted talking points and background information.
Richmond Highway Undergrounding – The Time is NOW!