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February 05, 2009

VDOT’s Allan Sumpter details additional cuts to Albemarle County’s Six-Year Plan

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Every month, Allan Sumpter of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Charlottesville Residency briefs the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on County road projects. During his appearance on February 4, 2009, Sumpter explained how the latest budget cuts would affect County transportation projects and gave details on how construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway would begin to take place in 2009.  

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On the subject of the Meadowcreek Parkway, Sumpter said that a pre-construction conference has been held with the contractor Faulconer Construction. He said Faulconer will be providing a community outreach program in the coming weeks to tell neighborhood residents how construction will proceed. Sumpter said bridge work will likely be Faulconer’s first objective before the road bed is cut into the landscape.

The County’s portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway is fully funded, and will not be affected by state funding cuts. Since his January report, VDOT had further revised its financial forecast to reflect the economic downturn. Last month, Sumpter told the Board that it would receive $15.5 million over the next six years for secondary road and unpaved projects. However, since then, that number has been reduced further and the County will now receive only $11.7 million in secondary road funds through FY2014. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will vote on the revised budget later this month.

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Allan Sumpter

Sumpter said the cuts will mean there will be no more money available to pave unpaved roads until after 2014. Projects underway will be completed, but no new projects will be started. While the Board will officially decide how to spend the money later this year, Sumpter said it was likely that the Jarmans Gap Road improvements would be the only project funded in the current six-year plan. Even then, the County still could be to $4.5 million short of the $14 million that must be in the bank before the project can go to construction.

Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) asked if money set aside to pave Dickerson Road could be transferred to Jarman’s Gap. Sumpter said it could not because state funding for paving roads cannot be transferred to other projects without penalty.  Sumpter also said that VDOT would like to conduct an aerial survey of the Dickerson Road corridor this winter so a better cost estimate could be developed.

Rooker said he would like to be able to use any money that is currently sitting in a project fund waiting to accrue enough to move forward.  Sumpter acknowledged there are many older projects that have balances, and that his staff are in a “project clean-up” phase that will possibly uncover older “revenue-sharing funds” that could go to other projects that have been previously qualified for VDOT’s revenue-sharing program.

County Executive Bob Tucker asked Sumpter how VDOT’s maintenance budget was holding up. Sumpter said cuts are beginning to have an impact on the work that can be done.

“We’re doing that on things such as tree cutting programs,” Sumpter said. He added that the emphasis will be on taking care of roads and that snow removal projects would not be affected.

On the subject of stimulus funding, Sumpter said that even if Virginia does receives as much as $300 million called for in the current version of the stimulus package, VDOT has previously cut nearly $2 billion in projects from the six year plan. 

Sean Tubbs

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