By. Neil Williamson, President, Free Enterprise Forum
In a display of confidence and political expediency, then new Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe set an aggressive deadline for the Route29Solutions projects of October 30, 2017 (a week before the 2017 General Election). In addition, the Commonwealth Transportation Board provided significant incentives to the contractors for completing projects ahead of the mandated schedule — it worked.
Rio/US29 GSI – OPEN 7/18/2016
US29 Widening – Scheduled Open June 30, 2017
Berkmar Extended – Schedule Open June 30, 2017
Traffic Signal Synchronization – Scheduled June 30, 2017
Hillsdale Drive Extended – Scheduled October 30, 2017
The Route 29 Solutions Project Delivery Advisory Panel (PDAP) has been working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the contractors throughout this fast paced design/build program. The PDAP meetings, which are live streamed on the web, always receive project updates as well as information about business assistance programming. The PDAP has initiated several refinements to the project.
In many ways, this set of projects has positively impacted the manner VDOT now delivers projects. The Free Enterprise Forum has been a vocal critic of the Rio Grade Separated Interchange plan and of many aspects of the Project Delivery Advisory Panel. We have also been critical of the methodology of former panel facilitator Philip Shucet. We have been and are supportive and appreciative of the many men and women who have worked so hard to put these important transportation projects ahead of schedule.
We hope our thoughtful, respectful opposition provided the opportunity to “sharpen the saw” and through our tough questions we have helped refine the process. While we still see significant transportation infrastructure needs, we believe our community, and our Commonwealth are better off for this significant transportation investment.
Neil Williamson, President