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Traffic woes will take toll page 3
Traffic congestion has become a local embarrassment.

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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 5/18/2003

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

If you think the slowdowns between here and Springfield are bad now, wait until the nation gets word that work on the Wilson Bridge and the mixing bowl is completed. Smooth sailing? I don't think so. Not through here.

Northern Virginia has studied and feared for years the impact traffic congestion would have on its economic vitality. In the wake of the economic downturn and Virginians' preference to sit in traffic rather than pay for improvements, traffic jams have become part of the landscape. With its combination of high-tech industry, government, and military presence, Northern Virginia's economy remains the state's pillar of strength. But it's hard to believe chronic gridlock wouldn't take some toll on its economic resilience or future growth.

While the Fredericksburg area's economy may be strong, it's no Northern Virginia. Its commerce and tourism depend heavily on the ability to get around. If people choose not to visit here because of the traffic, or if locals decide to put off that shopping trip because of the traffic, the damage will become evident.

Headed to the grocery store? Don't forget your books-on-tape.

RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.


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