This project explores the possibility of providing a context-sensitive multimodal connection between Crystal City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), designed to meet the needs of people walking, biking, and using micromobility devices.
The CC2DCA connector would provide residents, visitors, and business travelers of all ages and abilities with a safe and convenient way to reach the airport from Crystal City. Not only could the project provide pedestrian and bicycle access to a national air travel hub, it would also potentially create and enhance multimodal connections among the airport, the relocated Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail station, and the multi-use Mount Vernon Trail.
The potential connection will link Crystal City to National Airport. The specific location of the project is to be determined.
Pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) efforts for the project were formally kicked off in spring 2021. Initial activities will include data collection (including field surveys if and as needed) and planning for agency coordination and public outreach.
To receive updates, sign up for the Crystal City-Pentagon City Transportation Update email on the right side of this page.
What to expect during the environmental review process
This project uses federal funds and could impact federal lands. Therefore, it is subject to NEPA and the County must develop alternatives and conduct an environmental analysis before selecting a preferred design concept. We anticipate this process will take a minimum of three years to complete for this project.
This work will be done in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and other regional, state and federal agency partners. The potential environmental impacts of the alternatives will be evaluated in a NEPA document, assumed at this time to be a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS is anticipated to be published in 2023. The study will also advance the production of required documentation and approvals by appropriate federal agencies.
At the conclusion of the NEPA process, a preferred alternative for a specific type of facility and alignment will be identified, and all necessary federal permits and authorizations will be obtained. It is anticipated that the NEPA process will conclude with a Record of Decision in 2024. The Record of Decision will identify the alternative selected for implementation and list environmental commitments to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts on the environment from the project.
After the Record of Decision is issued, Arlington County plans to further advance the design of the selected connection in preparation for the next phase of the project (final design and construction). This work will be completed under a different contract.
Public involvement is pivotal to the NEPA process; opportunities to engage with the study will be provided throughout its development. Given the importance of this project, the County will develop a comprehensive public participation plan in accordance with NEPA requirements and consistent with the County’s Six Step Public Engagement Guide for Capital Projects.
To receive notification of upcoming public participation opportunities, sign up for the Crystal City Pentagon City Transportation Update email on the right side of this page.
About the Project
In 2010, Arlington County adopted the Crystal City Multimodal Transportation Study. The study made transportation improvement recommendations for the Crystal City area including the construction of a “Direct pedestrian and bicycle connection from the Mount Vernon Trail to Terminal C of National Airport” (page 42).
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (now known as the National Landing BID) initiated a feasibility assessment in 2017 that looked at how to connect Crystal City and its myriad transportation options to the airport. The study evaluated various alignment and facility types to serve existing development and planned growth in Crystal City.
During development of its FY 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan, the County created a new project in the Crystal City, Pentagon City, Potomac Yard Streets Program to continue alternatives analysis and preliminary planning for the connection. The project had limited funding due to budget constraints.
In late 2018, with the announcement of an agreement to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Crystal City, the Commonwealth of Virginia identified this connector project as one of five transportation projects to be fully or partially funded by the Commonwealth.
VDOT added the project to its Six-Year Improvement Program in 2019. This included an allocation of $9.5 million in federal funding for project planning, NEPA documentation and preliminary engineering.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead agency for the environmental review on this project, while VDOT is the joint lead agency for the purposes of preparing the NEPA document. Concurring, cooperating, and participating agencies will be identified and formally invited in these roles after the NEPA process kicks off.
At its December 2019 meeting, the County Board approved an agreement with VDOT to allow the County to administer the project’s planning, environmental review and preliminary engineering phases.
On June 30, 2020, the County advertised a request for proposals to select a consultant to complete the project’s environmental documentation and conceptual design. The County Board approved a professional services contract at its March 20, 2021, meeting.