By. Neil Williamson, President
Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has again failed to address the recommendations of their Route 29 Corridor Study subcommittee. This inaction leaves the communities along US29 in limbo regarding the conclusions from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) $1.5 Million dollar study.
By means of background, the CTB is appointed by the Governor and is charged with establishing the administrative policies of Virginia’s transportation policies. The 17 member panel allocates highway funding to specific projects and locates routes. In addition the CTB provides funding for airports, seaports and public transportation.
In December of 2009, the CTB did not care for the Route 29 Corridor Study report they received and sent the consultant back to the drawing board. In their resolution at that time they said, in part:
WHEREAS, the Board, while acknowledging the work of the consultant team, has determined that the process used to develop the Blueprint and recommendation of specific improvements was flawed, in that:
• the Blueprint fails to include several recommendations of the consultant team that were removed prior to presentation to the Board, some of which were apparently initially opposed or favored by the localities affected, which removal the Board views was premature;
The following January, the CTB appointed a subcommittee to get this process to a conclusion. After a series of meetings, the subcommittee recognized they would not be able to meet the CTB’s stated deadline, so they requested an extension.
On September 15, 2010 the CTB extended the extended deadline with yet another resolution that read in part:
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Commonwealth Transportation Board does modify the previously approved resolution and hereby directs the Board Subcommittee to continue work on the Board’s directives and present its recommendations at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board on December 8, 2010.[emphasis added]
In an ironic twist the Charlottesville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was scheduled to present to the CTB at their December 8, 2010 meeting.
But somehow, the CTB did not see fit to add the Route 29 Corridor study to its December 8 agenda.
Noting this omission, The Free Enterprise Forum planned to attend the January 19th meeting of the CTB in Richmond to hear the subcommittee report. On January 18th, we were contacted by CTB staff indicating the issue would not be on the January agenda. When pressed, staff was “hopeful” that it would be on the February 16 agenda.
US 29 is a highway of National Significance, The Free Enterprise Forum calls for the Commonwealth Transportation Board to accept or reject their subcommittee’s report on the February agenda.
The community deserves better than yet another punt.
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org