Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Proposed changes to Virginia Transportation Enhancement funding

At it's November 19 meeting the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will consider possible changes to the formula for funding Transportation Enhancement (TE) projects. One suggested change to be implemented in FY2013 would put more emphasis on transportation-oriented bicycle and pedestrian projects and less emphasis on historic preservation projects.

There are 12 categories of TE projects. Many people think that TE projects are primarily for building pedestrian and bicycle facilities. However, 9 of the 12 categories have nothing to do with non-motorized transportation. Among the 12 categories are: scenic or historic highway programs including tourist and welcome centers, purchase of historic properties or buildings in historic districts, rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities, and establishment of transportation museums.

The categories that would receive funding in FY2013 are those that promote core transportation functions: Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Education, Landscaping and Scenic Beautification along Transportation Corridors (including streetscape improvements), and Preservation of Abandoned Railway Corridors and Conversion to Trails (traditional rails-to-trails and rails-with-trails projects).

We support most of the proposed changes. We don't support the inclusion of landscaping and scenic beautification projects unless they include bicycle facilities. Some TE funds have been used on projects that in fact make conditions worse for bicyclists and pedestrians. Streetscape projects in Northern Virginia have included brick sidewalks and crosswalks and street designs that do not accommodate bicyclists.

To speak out in favor of the proposed changes, attend the November 19 CTB meeting at 9:00 a.m. at the VDOT Central Office Auditorium, 1221 E. Broad St., Richmond or send comments by email.


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