Virginia schedules public hearings on transportation

| Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A couple of weeks removed from an unsuccessful attempt in the Virginia General Assembly to approve funding for transportation improvements, members of the public will get a chance to tell state officials what they want to see happen to roads, bridges, rail and transit.

Virginia lawmakers adjourned their special session on transportation Sept. 28 – two days ahead of schedule – without accomplishing much of anything. Among the efforts that failed to gain passage during the legislators’ two days of work was legislation that included using tolls, taxes and other fees to pay for road and bridge work.

Problems stem from Republican leaders in the House and Senate who haven’t been able to reach agreement on funding. Senate leaders say new revenues, including a fuel tax increase, are needed to address congestion and maintenance costs, while House leaders are vehemently opposed to higher taxes and fees.

Efforts to come up with funding for transportation projects can be discussed during the 45-day regular session that begins in January.

In the meantime, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has scheduled nine public hearings around the state this fall. Information will be presented on projects needing more funding for completion, as well as other possible projects.

Finishing all the publicly financed highway projects now being developed has a price tag of $7 billion, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Hearings are scheduled at the following locations:

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Salem Civic Center, 1001 Blvd., Salem;
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Grand Hall, One Partnership Circle, Abingdon;
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at John Tyler Community College Student Center, Room N102 A and B, 13101 Jeff Davis Highway, Chester;
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at VDOT Culpeper District Office Auditorium, 1601 Orange Road, Culpeper;
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at Augusta Government Center, 18 Government Center Lane, Verona;
  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax;
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at Hampton Roads Planning District Office, 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake;
  • 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, at VDOT Fredericksburg District Auditorium, 87 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg;
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at The Kirkley Hotel, 2900 Candler’s Mountain Road, Lynchburg.

During the comment period, individuals will be allowed to speak for three minutes each. Individuals can also send their comments to the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation:

Programming Director
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Send e-mail to six-yearprogram@vdot.virginia.gov.

Public Information Officer
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
1313 E Main St., Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23218-0590

Send e-mail drptpr@drpt.virginia.gov.

The board will take public comments into consideration prior to adopting Virginia’s 2008-2013 transportation improvement program. Officials will hold a final public hearing on the six-year draft plan in the spring.

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