By. Neil Williamson, President
The Free Enterprise Forum has written previously about the Jurisdictional High Stakes Poker that seems to be played between the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Well in today’s poker game, there is a new player with $230 million dollars in transportation funding on the table.
This afternoon at 4 pm the Charlottesville Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will hold its second public hearing regarding changes to its Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) at the Albemarle County Office Building (401 McIntire Road).
In an unusual move, the MPO sent a letter to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) outlining the projects it would like to see fully funded. The letter, which the Free Enterprise Forum described as showing Chutzpah, was very careful not to make the funding of these projects as demands:
We recognize that transportation funds in Virginia are limited; however, we would appreciate consideration and support for these requests by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. As you know, we will be considering amendments to our Constrained Long Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program on July 27 to incorporate the US29 Bypass and hope to be able to conduct such deliberations in the context of support to assist us with our local transportation needs.
In last week’s CTB meeting, they authorized funding for for the Bypass and the widening of US 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Hollymead Towncenter. They did not take up the balance of the MPO’s Chutzpah list.
This is where Kenny Rogers comes in.
In perhaps his most famous song The Gambler, (1978) he discusses philosophy with a fellow train traveler. Many folks remember the quote about “Knowing when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em” but often forget the most telling passage:
Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
The MPO has the opportunity to make the hand they have been dealt by the CTB into a winner or a loser.
The Free Enterprise Forum encourages the MPO to amend their plan include the Western Bypass and the widening of US29 as part of the TIP.
Anything short of this, will make this hand a loser and the community we may walk away from the table with nothing.
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, Louisa and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org