You may remember the legislation passed earlier this year enacting the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan included the creation of an advisory committee tasked with reviewing and prioritizing the projects in the plan to make recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board about how to proceed.
As a part of their review and prioritization, the committee is required to have four public meetings in 2019. We expect the first meeting to be scheduled in early August and we’ll reach out as soon as a date is announced.
Even though the projects under review must come from the approved I-81 Plan that was created with much public input, it is still important to have public involvement in this critical prioritization phase. Now is the time to ensure projects providing the most significant improvements are completed first and that impacts to surrounding resources – farmland, communities, rural roads, water quality, local businesses – are considered.
Over the last few weeks announcements of committee appointments have rolled in and the seats are now filled:
Bill Carrico, R-Grayson
John Edwards, D-Roanoke
Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham
House of Delegates Representation
Terry Austin, R-Botetourt
Chris Collins, R-Frederick
Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg
Tony Wilt, R-Rockingham
Commonwealth Transportation Board Representation
F. Dixon Whitworth, Jr., Staunton District
Raymond D. Smoot, Jr., Salem District
Jerry L. Stinson, Bristol District
Planning District Commission Representation
Dennis Morris, Northern Shenandoah Valley RC
Frank Friedman, Central Shenandoah PDC
Bradley Grose, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany RC
Michael Harvey, New River Valley RC
Steven D. Winesett, Mount Rogers PDC
The Alliance plans to follow this process very closely and we are also keeping an eye on potential federal funding sources for I-81 (see this request by Senators Warner and Kaine). While federal funding for the corridor could be a good thing, we want to make sure dollars are designated to the existing thoroughly vetted plan or projects designed with significant public input.
We’ll keep you posted!