Candidate Name (Affiliation): Keith Elliott (R)

District: Sully

1. Improving Public Transit

Public transit is the backbone of a sustainable, equitable transportation system and a thriving economy, and Fairfax County has admirable plans to expand its bus rapid transit (BRT) network to ensure fast, frequent, and reliable service for residents. While public transit ridership on some systems has been hit by the pandemic with reduced commute trips due to increased teleworking, transit remains key for essential workers, and for supporting compact, walkable communities.

Do you support increased funding for public transit to address budget shortfalls and make improvements to better serve riders?

Candidate’s Response: No.

What is your experience riding public transit? What ideas do you have to improve public transit in Fairfax County? 

Candidate’s Response: I would if only we find ways to reduce current expenses. Taxes in Fairfax County have risen faster than incomes. That makes residents have less money for affording homes, saving to buy a home or essential items for living. I have also heard that even in 2030 something like 70% of the residents will still want to use their vehicles for commuting. I have used the Metro when going to DC for events, sightseeing and sports.

2. Active Transportation Funding

The ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan – the County’s most significant overhaul of its bicycle, pedestrian, and trails plans – is expected to be finalized this year. The plan’s recommendations address critical safety needs for residents who already walk and bike and also make improvements to allow more residents to walk and bike conveniently and safely for daily needs. Realizing the Plan’s vision will require substantial, dedicated, and consistent funding.

Would you support Fairfax committing dedicated annual funding to support the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan, even if that meant potentially delaying road expansion and interchange projects?

Candidate’s Response: No.

What is your personal experience dealing with or advocating for pedestrian or bicyclist safety issues?

Candidate’s Response:

Again, I am not totally against this, As a Supervisor I would have to really analyze best use of revenues the County receives. Certain Cities like my District in Western Fairfax would not work well for mass transit and from what I have heard many would never use it due to delays and fears of getting sick or attacked. This question seems to not totally go along with 2A unless I am not understanding it correctly. I do jog and ride bikes for exercise.

3. Low-Stress Bike Network

Fairfax County has committed to reducing the amount people have to drive and associated transportation-related carbon emissions. The County’s climate plan calls for meeting a goal of 30% non-auto commuting trips by 2030. To make this shift, the County will need robust, accessible alternatives and bicycling is an ideal, low-cost, carbon-free alternative. But that mode shift requires dedicated infrastructure including an expanded network of trails and comfortable, protected, low-stress bicycle facilities – not just painted bike lanes or sharrows – to make bicycling meaningfully safer, more appealing, and more accessible and often requires roadway redesign that reduces parking and/or vehicle lanes. 

Compared to the current prioritization, do you think greater priority should be given to the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in the County’s roadway designs?

Candidate’s Response: Yes.

How would you ensure that people of all ages and abilities have robust active transportation access to and along the County’s major and most important thoroughfares and connecting streets?

Candidate’s Response: Based on the statement above, I think in pockets of the county and in certain areas these facilities would work well for those who wish to use a bike to commute. I do believe though we would only be talking about less than 30% of the residents would use mass transit so even less would use a bike to commute. Again, more would use a bike to commute if homes were in a close location to work. Look at big cities where it works but in suburbs it would not work that well.

4. Safe Streets for All

On May 10, 2022, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously endorsed the Safe Streets for All Program, a comprehensive initiative to address systemic transportation safety issues for people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving. Included in the recommendations is a call for roadway infrastructure changes to slow traffic on our community’s streets. Unfortunately, the County has not yet dedicated staff or funding to begin executing the program. At the same time, Fairfax County experienced a troubling uptick in traffic-related pedestrian fatalities in 2022. 

Do you support the full implementation of the Safe Streets for All Program in Fairfax County, including changes to roadway design guidelines and an expanded automated speed enforcement program?

Candidate’s Response: Yes.

What proven traffic safety improvement policies, programs, and/or technologies would you like to see implemented in your district and throughout the County? Given the lack of clarity around who has the legal and budgetary authority to make roadway safety improvements stemming from state ownership of County roads, what steps would you propose to ensure that these roadway safety improvements are implemented?

Candidate’s Response: Who wouldn’t support that? The County must work with the State entities to solve these issues and improve quality of life and safety for everyone on the roads and sidewalks. New technologies are coming out every day, look at the paints contained in the asphalt now vehicles have alarms and alerts if you go over lines. I’m certain more are there and each of these should be looked at.

5. Safe Routes to School

Trips to and from schools are among the best opportunities to reduce car trips in Fairfax County. A robust Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program can play a critical role in encouraging more families to walk and bicycle to school, which has been shown to increase confidence and sense of independence among children while also reducing pickup/dropoff vehicle congestion and associated carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the County’s SRTS program includes just one dedicated staff position for a public school system that serves 185,000 students. 

Would you support expanding the Safe Routes to School program, including additional staff capacity, to get more kids to walk and bike to school?

Candidate’s Response: No.

What other policies or budget items will you pursue to upgrade transportation infrastructure so kids can safely walk and bike to school? 

Candidate’s Response: It is not that I would not support it, it is just that I see most everyone driving their kids to school. If it requires more expenses to the budget then it would be hard for me to approve as I see most families have 2 working parents and others are single parent families so these parents are trying to get kids to school faster and also are not available to walk their kids to school. My wife and I have been blessed to be able to walk our kids to school.

Families for Safe Streets is a 501(c)(3) organization. This candidate questionnaire is strictly educational and has being shared with all candidates and the public. By law, our organization is strictly prohibited from participating in, or intervening in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

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