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Va. Candidates Face Tricky Question: Do They Support Bi-County Parkway?

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Virginia's next governor may be in a position to decide whether a controversial highway project in Northern Virginia ever gets built. That explains why there was so much interest in what Democrat Terry McAuliffe and his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli had to say at a candidates forum held today in Manassas.

When pressed by moderator Derek McGinty, the Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe refused to take a position on whether the Bi-County Parkway, a ten-mile divided highway connecting Prince William and Loudoun Counties, should be built.

"I just think sometimes, Derek, people make decisions without all the facts in front of them. These studies aren't done. You know that as well as I do," McAuliffe said. "We got a lot of permitting issues to be done. We've got to deal, as it relates to the battlefield issues, you know this."

McGinty persisted, saying that the candidate owes voters a position.

"No offense, that is cute to say, but I do not make decisions, nor will I make decisions until I have all the facts in front of me," McAuliffe said.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli says he supports the concept of a new highway connecting the two counties, but is not happy with a proposed deal with the National Park Service.

"We cannot be closing down major arteries as part of the trade off to expand transportation access in Northern Virginia," Cuccinelli said. "We need to be opening more arteries, not closing them."

What Cuccinelli is referring to is a draft agreement between VDOT and the National Park Service to close Rt. 234 through Manassas Battlefield so the state can build the parkway over the battlefield s historic western fringe.

"I don't think that we should be holding regional transportation necessities hostage to one federal bureaucrat. Period. Period!" he said.

Manassas Park Superintendent Ed Clark has said he will not agree to the state s highway plan unless Rt. 234 closes through the battlefield.

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