Comments to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors May 27th 2014, 6:00 pm
Madame Chair, Members of the Board, Mr. Foley and Mr. Davis,
My name is Neil Williamson and I serve as President of the Free Enterprise Forum a local public policy organization. The Free Enterprise Forum has been a participant and a vocal critic of the Places29 Misplanning process.
I agree with Mr. Shucet, his Expressway vote tonight will be remembered for forever changing the character and viability of Albemarle’s Main Street and Economic Engine.
Make no mistake, some businesses will relocate and recover, some will not.
Ask the long timers on lower State Street in Santa Barbara California which saw the only lights on US 101 removed in the early 1980s with an elevated highway cutting off Downtown from the Beach. After over twenty years of economic depression, their micro economy is finally booming again.
Ask the retailer in Gainesville who was not close enough to have his land taken by the Linton Hall interchange but has watched his weekly receipts dwindle to barely enough to cover the rent.
No government program can fix this.
The Shucet Expressway will cause some businesses to fail.
That is the fact.
Further, Mr. Shucet is channeling Monty Hall when he tells the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that the choice is to endorse his solution (and all of his solution) by the end of Summer or lose the money to other deserving transportation projects in the Commonwealth.
With the City who has two of the five votes on the MPO already endorsing the concept, and VDOT representative duty bound to support it, the Shucet Expressway has been expertly railroaded through our community. And quite frankly, I am disappointed.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org