Our Transportation Lead Kim Sandum made the trek to Lexington to attend the first of four I-81 Committee Meetings on August 13, 2019. The committee was created in the 2019 legislation that adopted the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan and established a funding source for the projects through various fuel taxes.
The committee is tasked with prioritizing the projects outlined in the plan and reporting out to the legislature by December 15.
If you remember, the Alliance, although frustrated with the way the legislation was ultimately passed, was largely impressed with the thorough process to produce the plan that incorporated both data and public input.
Now, after hearing the committee discuss its charge, we see two roles for ourselves in the near future and eventual opportunities for your input:
- We intend to advocate for local input on project design. The project locations in the plan were targeted and address specific, identifiable safety issues. Now we need to ensure the solutions are designed with consideration to surrounding landowners and businesses and historic and natural resources. Our hope is the committee fully intends to involve the public in these important decisions and we’ll be sure to let you know when it is time to speak up.
- We are committed to making sure the funds set aside to explore multimodal solutions (like using parallel rail corridors and innovative public transit) are spent wisely. A host of non-pavement solutions will be needed to ensure the long-term safety of the road and preservation of the rural landscapes and towns that neighbor the corridor.
The next I-81 Corridor meeting will likely be scheduled soon in the fall, so stay tuned!
Materials from the first committee meeting can be found here: http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/projects/major_projects/i-81_study.asp