If you've ever wondered what roads will be built or what new transit options are going to exist in the near term –The Commonwealth Transportation Board has released its working draft of Virginia's Six-Year Improvement Program for comments, due by Friday, May 18, 2012.
The recently released draft plan covers 2013-2018 and it includes all of the proposed highway, road and bridge projects as well as rail, transit, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation improvements across the state — with a total associated cost of $10.6 billion.
Digging into the meat of this report isn't for everyone, but you can be assured that PEC's land use staff are doing so as we prepare detailed comments. We would also encourage you to take a look at the proposed projects in your area. You can search by VDOT district, by county, by project number (in the "UPC" box), or by the project name (in the "Keyword" box).
Our Take: Ineffective Mega Projects Would Waste Limited Funds
There are many proposals in the plan which match the goals of local comprehensive plans and help residents who struggle with traffic daily, but the six-year program also includes controversial and ineffectual road projects like the Charlottesville Western Bypass (project # 16160) and preliminary engineering for the Tri-County Parkway/Outer Beltway (project # 52405).
We think that these projects come at the expense of maintenance (a separate pot of money), as well as local transportation priorities and transit. This Administration's priority of building new highways has been made clear by the Virginia Secretary of Transportation and would be accomplished by:
- Constricting the budget for maintenance of interstates and primary roads,
- Reducing funding for secondary roads (to less than 1/5 of the total primary and secondary road budgets),
- Offloading maintenance for secondary roads to localities (this component was blocked by the General Assembly this year),
- Limiting funding for transit,
- and using the newly created bond funding mechanism to borrow money for road construction.
Comments Due by Friday, May 18, 2012
The Piedmont Environmental Council will be saying as much in our comments and filing detailed comments for our region. You, too, can comment on the plan–in general terms, or about specific proposals listed on the six-year program website for your county and region. The final six-year program will be released in June 2012 after the agency has had time to review the comments received and to pass along final recommendations for approval to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. You can email your comments to: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov
If you do make comments about specific projects, be sure to include the project number(s) you are referencing.
This text was taken from an email alert by Dan Holmes, PEC's Director of State Policy.