The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is proposing major policy changes to the Transportation Enhancement (TE) fund that could severely cut funding for bike and pedestrian projects in Virginia. Please take a few minutes and send an email or note to the CTB and stop this before it’s too late.

Please send a note to the CTB opposing their proposed actions by October 19.

Please ask the Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton (SEAN.CONNAUGHTON@GOVERNOR.VIRGINIA.GOV) and the entire Board to oppose these changes. Let them know that you want these funds to be used for core bike and pedestrian projects, not to develop scenic highway programs or to pay for tourist brochures.

Background

Each year, a portion of the federal Surface Transportation Program funds are set -aside for transportation enhancement projects. TE funds are one of the primary sources of funding for multi-use paths, sidewalks and trails in Virginia. Normally, this amounts to $15 – $20 million per year

The CTB annually receives 150 – 200 requests for projects each year but can only fund around 100 of these requests.

In July, the Governor asked that $4M – nearly a quarter of the available funds – be spent on, “high priority statewide initiatives (tourism based initiatives, etc.” to build tourist centers, and funding programs such as promoting scenic roads and cultural attractions.
While we don’t oppose promoting tourism, Virginia already budgets over $18M for the Virginia Tourism Corporation to do this. They don’t need TE funds to print more brochures.

Please share this with your members and ask them to send a note today.

Thanks for taking the time to make a difference.

Here’s a sample note send to the Board:

========================================

Secretary Sean Connaugton and
Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 233219
c/o
sean.connaugton@governor.virginia.gov

Mr. Secretary and Members of the CTB:

Please share this message with the entire CTB.

I urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to oppose the proposed changes to the Transportation Enhancement Funding policy but instead prioritize these funds on key projects which build facilities to promote walking, cycling and alternatives to driving our cars.

Riding bicycles and walking benefits the Commonwealth in many ways including:

health benefits;

  • reduced health care costs;
  • increasing the number of children who can safely walk or ride their bikes to school;
  • decreased smog and air pollution;
  • decreased dependence on foreign oil;
  • less congestion on our roads by getting people out of their cars;
  • tourism income by attracting visitors to ride and hike in Virginia;
  • increased revenues by attracting businesses and individuals to relocate to our Virginia; and,
  • a better quality of life for everyone.

As a resident of Virginia, I want to have choices in transportation and the Transportation Enhancement Fund should be used to fund alternative transportation facilities.

Please prioritize these limited funds on key projects that benefit the Commonwealth and citizens by moving people, not paper.

Sincerely,

[your name/organization]

The Future of Hampton Roads (FHR) is hosting a free conference to address regional cooperation and to inspire and empower future leaders in Hampton Roads.

What: Regional Futures’ Conference
Date: April 20, 2010
Time: 2:00 to 6:30 PM, Doors open at 1:30 PM
Where:  Crowne Plaza Marina Hotel in Hampton, VA, 700 Settler’s Landing Road

Robert Puentes, Director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institution, will focus on the basic framework and best practices needed to enhance regional effectiveness, regional competitiveness and on policies required to achieve effective unity in Hampton Roads.   A Panel discussion will follow the Puentes presentation:

  • Joe S. Frank, Mayor of Newport News will address regional governance,
  • Randy Gilliland, Hampton Roads Green Alliance will address regional green matters,
  • Willie Session, Norfolk FBI office, will address regional community law enforcement matters, and
  • Ray Taylor will address regional transportation.

FHR (www.fhrinc.org) is a non-profit, all volunteer regional think tank organization composed of about 50 private citizens from all walks of life who promote effective regional cooperation.

In preparing for this Regional Futures’ Conference, Ray Taylor, President of FHR, noted: “There is more than a touch of urgency in the air. Wage scales and the rate of economic growth in Hampton Roads are not advancing as steadily as in other major metro areas in the nation”.

The Conference will conclude with regional door prizes and a cash bar networking reception. Community leaders and business professionals are encouraged to attend this prestigious event.

For more information contact: Kim Humphrey, 728-0185, Kim.Humphrey@att.net or Ray Taylor, 671-7751, taylorrak@cox.net

This sounds like a good opportunity to make sure that multi-modal transportation issues are discussed for the Hampton Roads area.  Let us know if you might attend.

About 100 people, including area leaders and bicycle advocates, braved the rain to celebrate the dedication of the James City County trailhead of the Virginia Capital Trail.  The event took place at the new kiosk and shelter, funded by Dominion Power.  Matoaka Elementary choir entertained the crowd and the girls running club provided tangible evidence to the benefits of the Virginia Capital Trail.  Guest speakers included Senator Tommy Norment, Dominion CEO Paul Koonce, and Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell.

Senator Norment speaks to the crowd at the VCT trail dedication in James City County.

Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell talked about the benefits of the trail and encouraged the Matoaka students to bring their parents out to the trail and go biking with them!

Virginia’s First Lady Maureen McDonnell will be among dignitaries to dedicate the first of three trailheads of the Virginia Capital Trail. The trailhead includes a shelter and an electronic, interactive kiosk with information on public accommodations, historical sites, wildlife and natural resources along the trail.  The ceremony will take place  at the new kiosk, directly across from the entrance to Jamestown Settlement

The trail connects Virginia’s past and present capitals of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Richmond, along more than 50 miles of the Scenic Route 5 corridor.

When:  Friday, March 26 @ 10:30am

Where: VCT Kiosk (near Jamestown Settlement)

Today, on the FastLane, Secretary LaHood announced the end of “favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”  Read for yourself at the link below!

Welcome to the Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Last week, a contingent from Williamsburg joined more than 750 other attendees at the 10th Annual National Bike Summit. Attendees traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with Congressional members to discuss legislation that will make our communities more bike friendly.  The event was capped with a “table top” speech by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, once again declaring that he is a full partner in our efforts to make America more multi-modal

You’re invited to the Destination Recreation Expo and Community Center Open House held tomorrow, Saturday, February 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James City/Williamsburg Community Center, 5301 Longhill Road! Saturday will be a great, one-day, one-stop-shopping opportunity to learn about all the recreational programs and services available to you and your family through Parks and Recreation and its programming partners. Take part in fitness and activity demonstrations, speak with the more than 40 park, recreation, sports and fitness exhibitors on site for the day, and tour the Community Center with a guided host!  The Expo is also a first preview and early sign-up period for summer programs and camps -experience all there is in summer camps, sports classes and leagues, outdoor programs, aquatic programs, Rec Connect, inclusion programs and special events.  After the Expo, you’ll have to wait until April 14 to register for most programs. Representatives from all of the local athletic leagues are scheduled to attend. For more information, visit www.jccEgov.com/recreation.