U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao stopped in Ashburn today to celebrate a $25 million federal grant to help pay for the long-planned extension of Northstar Boulevard.
“This will benefit not only the residents of Loudoun County, but every person in this region who depends on the Dulles International Airport,” Chao said during a ceremony with county supervisors, representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10). “It shows how investment in rural infrastructure often benefits both urban and rural communities.”
The ceremony was held at the northern end of a the missing link of Northstar, between Shreveport and Rt. 50, that the federal grant will help fund.
Completing that 1.6-mile section of Northstar Boulevard will create another north-south connector between some of the county’s major thoroughfares. Northstar and Belmont Ridge Road together will form an unbroken connection between Rt. 50 and Rt. 7 with ramps onto the Dulles Greenway.
The county won the funding though the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery—or TIGER grant—program. Chao said Loudoun was one of only 41 grant recipients from among 452 grant applicants.
And County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said it is the first time a locality has won a TIGER grant.
“What I should say is we are humbled and we are pleased, and we are all of that, but the truth is, there is no other county that deserves this more,” Randall said.
Loudoun is one of only a handful of grant recipients that received the maximum possible grant amount. Comstock said it mark another example of Loudoun’s expertise and collaboration with state and federal government.
“Loudoun County is so well known for this really collaborative effort,” Comstock said.
“We’re really proud of the project that we saw here, and we really look forward to working with you, because again, this project demonstrates to the rest of the country the importance of the cooperation between the federal government and the state and local governments,” Chao said. “Local governments are a natural partner in infrastructure. You know best what’s going on.”
The new Northstar Boulevard segment will be designed as a controlled access thoroughfare comprised of a four-lane divided roadway located within a proposed six-lane right-of-way. It will include a 10-foot wide shared-use path and 6-foot wide sidewalks, three signalized intersections, and two new bridges.
The $25 million award chips away at the project’s total estimated cost of nearly $88 million. The county also hopes to win funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for the project.
The county’s plans for Northstar reach even further south to Braddock Road, another east-west route to Fairfax County. The county plans to fund construction of the final sections of that road in fiscal year 2024. Those two projects, extending first from Rt. 50 to Tall Cedars Parkway and then to Braddock Road, total more than $75 million.
Chao is has previously served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush, director of the Peace Corps under President George H. W. Bush, president of and CEO of United Way, and chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission under President Ronald Reagan. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).