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Snyder wanted 'Tesla Tunnel' underneath 95 to solve traffic concerns for Virginia stadium plans

Snyder told state lawmakers the tunnel would run from Regan National Airport to Prince William County according to three people in the meeting

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — It might be the most controversial stadium plan the Washington Commanders are considering: Building the team’s new state of the art football and entertainment complex in Prince William County right in the heart of one of the worst traffic corridors on the East Coast.

In February 2022 WUSA9 broke the news the Washington Commanders had detailed plans for a football and entertainment complex in three Northern Virginia locations. Two of them were in Prince William County. 

“Thought it was a bad idea,” said Tom Calhoun who has lived in Woodbridge for 20 years.

One of the locations was in Calhoun's neighborhood along I-95, the other in Dumfries in the Potomac Shores development -- 43 traffic-packed miles away from the heart of DC. Traffic apps put the drive time to the Dumfries site close to an hour and half or more on gamedays from downtown D.C.

But when WUSA9 visited the Dumfries site in May, construction crews appeared to be moving forward building new homes on the exact site of that proposed stadium on the Potomac River. State Sen. Jeremy McPike now puts the chances of a Prince William County Commanders Stadium at “zero.”

McPike, who represents Prince William County, says even if the team is shifting its focus to Woodbridge, long standing traffic problems on I-95 make it a non-starter. In fact, according to three sources who were there, WUSA9 has learned outgoing Commanders owner Dan Snyder pitched building an underground “Tesla Tunnel” to Prince William County in a December 2021 meeting with state lawmakers, similar to one in Las Vegas.

Snyder proposed the underground tunnel would run from Regan National Airport to Prince William County to alleviate game day traffic. The Commanders would not comment on the Prince William County Stadium plans or whether the “Tesla Tunnel” is still being considered.

The “Vegas Loop” tunnel system, built by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, is currently only 2.2 miles long, mostly under the Las Vegas Convention Center. In early May, The Boring Company received county approval to expand the Vegas Tunnel up to 55 miles, but that construction won’t be complete for years, if not longer.

McPike is skeptical that such a tunnel would be a realistic traffic solution to any Prince William County stadium plan.

“We know it’s going to be decades before you get something major like Metro down here,” McPike said. "And so until you have the transit and transportation infrastructure. I think it’s a dead deal.”

Other lawmakers haven’t given up hope on bringing the Commanders to Prince William Countty.

“What the team was proposing would have been a really exciting, sort of multifaceted Town Center,” said State Sen. Scott Surovell, who also represents parts of Prince William County. “Concert venue, sporting venue that I think would bring a lot of new activity and a lot of new reasons to live in eastern Prince William County, which don't exist, right now.”

But any stadium deal in Woodbridge or Dumfries would still need the support of Prince William County supervisors, in a county that is still debating how much growth it really wants.

“And I'm not convinced that folks that move out to Prince William County from the urban areas of Fairfax, and D.C. and Arlington, want to bring that urban feel with them,” said Supervisor Jeanine Lawson.

Back in Woodbridge, Calhoun is moving on. And he hopes the Commanders are too. Asked if he believes talk of a Prince William County stadium is dead, Calhoun said, “it feels that way.”

Also working against a Prince William County Stadium site is the increased competition.

Since Snyder announced plans to sell the team, D.C. has stepped up its efforts to bring the Commanders back to D.C. and is pushing Congress to transfer the RFK site back to the District. Meanwhile, Loudon County and Maryland are also pushing hard for the Commanders new home.

A spokesperson for Josh Harris, who will be the new Commanders owner if approved by the NFL, said they would not comment on any Commanders related issues until the deal to buy the team is finalized.

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