Expansion projects provide highway capacity to meet long-term traffic flow needs and provide for economic development. Expansion projects typically add lanes to existing roads or build new roads in the highway system. System Expansion projects are normally given third priority preference.
In prior years, available revenue was projected to be sufficient for basic needs in the categories of Preservation and Modernization, but did not stretch far enough to fund sorely-needed expansion projects. Many feel that the inability to address highway congestion is hurting the county as it competes for economic growth. While residential growth seems unaffected by congestion, excessive residential growth unaccompanied by desirable non-residential development is viewed by some as a net drain on government resources (e.g. school overcrowding). Highway investment positively impacts our local economy—creating good paying jobs and providing for the efficient movement of goods and people—making an area attractive to desirable economic development.
The economic climate in which more recent 5-year programs were created has been much different than when the county board endorsed the "Plan for Using the New Collar County Transportation Empowerment Funds" in 2008. The plan assumed a certain level of transportation sales tax funding; however sales tax revenues have fallen short of expectations. Forecasted revenues have been revised to reflect this condition, and the program is fiscally constrained by the revenues expected to be available.