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June 16, 2008

VDOT outlines cuts in FY09-FY14 Six Year Improvement Plans

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has posted the final draft of the Six Year Improvement Plan for FY09-FY14, which officially details how the 44% reduction in road construction funds will be reflected over the next several years. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will vote on the Plan at its meeting June 19, 2008 in Richmond. 

The Hillsdale Drive Extension will be “delayed” under the new Plan, which means that work on it will continue. However, the $30.5 million project it will receive no more funding from the state or federal government until FY2014. 

Several other projects have been “cut” from the Plan, which means that they will not get underway until at least 2015. The CTB revisits the Six Year Plan each year, which means that projects can resume if additional sources of revenue can be found.  None of the projects listed below are currently active, or on the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program. The MPO will hold a public hearing on its FY09 Transportation Improvement Program this Wednesday.

Project cuts on primary roads include:

  • Corridor improvements on Route 29 north of Charlottesville city limits (widening and safety improvements on Route 29 between the South Fork Rivanna River and Hollymead Town Center)
  • Corridor improvements on Route 250 east of Charlottesville City limits
  • A project to replace the bridge over the CSX Railway ¼ mile west of McIntire Road
  • A project to replace the bridge over the CSX Railway at Shadwell
  • A project to replace the bridge carrying Route 601 over the Route 29/250 Bypass

Project cuts on secondary roads include:

  • Reconstruction and add lanes for Route 649 (Proffit Road) from Route 29 to Baker-Butler Elementary
  • Widening of Route 601 (Old Ivy Road) from Route 250 to the 29 Bypass to four lanes

VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter called the projects above “candidate projects” which will not be started within the horizon of the Six Year Plan due to the funding crisis
.
 “We’re trying to be realistic, and work on the projects we have funding for,” said VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter. He said project costs are rising at a time when revenues have been reduced by the end of the abusive driver fees. The General Assembly will convene on June 23, 2008 for a special session to  consider Governor Tim Kaine’s proposal to raise $1 billion a year through a series of tax and fee increases.

Both the Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors have endorsed resolutions encouraging area legislators to support Kaine’s plan. In the resolution, Chairman Ken Boyd (Rivanna) objected to the usage of the word “new” to describe funds for transportation because he feared that could be misconstrued as support for a tax increase.  The Board of Supervisors settled on the word “additional” to describe funding required for the community’s transportation needs.

Delegate David Toscano (D-57) and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25) will hold a Transportation Town Hall meeting to discuss Kaine’s plan, and area transportation funding in general. The event will begin at 7:00 PM tonight at the Albemarle County’s office building on 5th Street Extended.

Sean Tubbs

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