The State recently released its draft annual update of its six-year transportation plan, which will be finalized by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in June.
Unfortunately, the draft plan shows that the McDonnell Administration continues Virginia on a path of more major roads leading to more sprawl and more pollution. The real solutions to Virginia's transportation needs are greater investment in green transportation choices, such as public transit, passenger and freight rail, and bicycle and pedestrian friendly infrastructure.
Around the state Virginia Sierra Club members have showing up at public hearings to urge the CTB to change directions on transportation policy by providing a greater share of program funding to green transportation choices like public transportation and intercity passenger rail programs.
The CTB is taking pubic comments on the draft plan until May 18. Submit your comments urging a greener, cleaner path for transportation over the next six years using the form below. Thank you.
Comments on Draft 2013-2018 Six-Year Improvement Program
Dear [Decision Maker],
The Draft 2013-2018 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) continues to take Virginia's transportation programs down the wrong road, placing a heavy emphasis on car-centric road building at the cost of healthier, cleaner transportation alternatives such as public transit and passenger and freight rail. I urge you approve a final SYIP that shifts in transportation priorities away from road building toward providing more, healthier transportation choices.The $11 billion Draft SYIP proposes spending 75 percent ($8.3 billion) on highway construction and spending only 21 percent to support public transportation and rail solutions to Virginia's transportation needs. This approach leads to more congestion, more air pollution, and continued dependence on oil.The limited funding for public transportation means that the Department of Rail and Public Transportation DRPT can only give local transit agencies 45 percent of the assistance authorized under state law.In addition the SYIP has a $190 million dollar short fall for Virginia's highly successful Inter City Passenger Rail Program. Unless these funds are provided over the six years of the SYIP this vital program may be discontinued.
To provide the funding needed for these public transportation programs I recommend you cease funding in the Draft SYIP earmarked for the following unneeded and wasteful new road projects:- The Route 460 Corridor Improvement Project, an unneeded 55-mile long four-lane toll road from Petersburg to Norfolk.- The long dead and contentious Route 29 Western Bypass in Charlottesville, - The environmentally destructive Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia, and- A new Outer Beltway in Northern Virginia that would cut through landscape of western Prince William and Loudoun counties.
Together these wasteful road projects account for hundreds of millions of dollars in the Draft SYIP that could be much better invested in providing needed support for public transit and intercity passenger rail.I also urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to provide an additional $300 million in additional state funding for completion of the Dulles Metrorail project in Northern Virginia, perhaps the most important public transportation project in the nation.Thank you for considering my views on the future of transportation program in Virginia.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]