Charlottesville, VA – Albemarle County’s Places29 Master Plan for the North US 29 corridor under counts cost by over $175,000,000 (40.5%) according to the Reality Check Report’ released today by the Free Enterprise Forum.

Using cost data buried on the back pages of Places29’s Technical Memorandum 11 and Federal Highway Transportation Administration (FHTA) historic cost data, the Free Enterprise Forum’s Reality Check Report  generated a road inflation escalating trend line analysis.  The land costs were increased by a similar historic trend line analysis of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

The ‘Reality Check Report’  suggests the Albemarle County Planning Commission’s decision to use constant (2007) dollars instead of the Virginia Department of Transportation preferred project year dollars may be a backhanded attempt to mislead the public regarding the real dollars that will be required to complete Places29.

 “If anything, I believe the shocking numbers included in the Reality Check Report’ are understated,” said Free Enterprise Forum President Neil Williamson.  “For over four years, we have raised concerns that Places29 costs have not been properly quantified.  Now the Planning Commission will not agree to use project year dollars.  While they accept the projected traffic figures that support their positions, they refuse to accept the reality of escalating costs.  This is beyond bad project management, it is deceitful.  The public deserves better,” Williamson concluded.

 The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded public policy and research organization covering The City of Charlottesville, and the Counties of Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, and Nelson.  For more information about The Free Enterprise Forum and the Reality Check Report visit the website

5 responses

  1. […] The Free Enterprise Forum’s “Reality Check” Report – Charlottesville, VA – Albemarle County’s Places29 Master Plan for the North US 29 corridor under counts cost by over $175,000,000 (40.5%) according to the ‘Reality Check Report’ released today by the Free Enterprise Forum. […]

  2. It would be helpful if a legend were included for Figure A. I’m not sure why column 2 drops from 221.3 to 172.4 when it switches from black to red at 2007. I assume red is projected, but why start at 172.4? This isn’t explained. Also was the fixed growth rate of 5.5% determined from data ending in 2006? I assume so, because that’s the most recent FHWA data available, but it’s not clear from the report. I’m curious to know more about where these specific numbers come from.

    This is a provocative claim, so the more clarity in background data the better. Sometimes construction prices drop, as we witnessed in the downtown mall renovation projections.

  3. Good analysis, but the consumer price index does not apply. You should be using a construction cost index as published by engineering news and report (enr).

  4. Thanks for the comment CS. As a point of clarification the CPI was used only to escalate the land costs (there are better escalators out there but the CPI is well understood). Construction costs were increased by a trend line analysis of National Highway and Transportation Administration historical highway construction costs.

  5. […] that, it was very concerning to us to read the comments in the statement which accompanied the release of the report, which portrayed the Planning Commission’s approach as […]

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