The 2040 long-range plan will focus on what to build or update with $25 billion in transportation funds
8:13 PM EDT, April 2, 2014
Halfway through a four-year process, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization long-range planning subcommittee has a list of more than 200 candidate projects submitted by localities and the public, and about 13 billion to spend on them over the next 20 years.
At a meeting Wednesday at the HRTPO regional building in Chesapeake, committee members looked over the list and reviewed progress on the HRTPO's long-range transportation plan, which will extend through 2040.
HRTPO senior transportation planner Dale Stith, who has worked on long-range plans for about eight years and briefed the group on progress, said this process is a little different than the effort to create the current plan, which extends through 2034. Thanks to the transportation law that went into effect in July 2013, Hampton Roads expects to have about $8 billion in regional funds to spend on transportation projects, and another $13 billion for construction and renovation.
"We're excited because in 2034, we hardly had any construction money and we had to move construction funds to cover maintenance," she said. "This time around there is enough maintenance money coming in to cover those needs."
The group will spend the next year evaluating and prioritizing the list using a tool that considers a range of factors, from congestion relief to safety to environmental impacts to economic development. That tool will evaluate both large projects, such as interstates, river crossings and interchanges, and smaller proposals, such as city streets, bike trails and transit stations.
Stith said the general rule with proposed projects is that they must be "regionally significant," but that does not mean local street projects do not make the list. Several proposals may improve traffic flow or create safer driving conditions, and would be considered important to the region.
The list includes priority projects the HRTPO has chosen, for which Hampton Roads Transportation Fund revenues would be used, Stith said.
Those include widening Interstate 64 from Jefferson Avenue to Exit 234 north of Williamsburg, a third crossing by way of Interstate 664, widening I-64 on the south side of Hampton Roads, renovating interchanges at I-64 and Fort Eustis Boulevard and I-64 at I-264, and the U.S. Route 460 project, which currently is on hold while the Virginia Department of Transportation conducts environmental studies.
Stith said the HRTF regional funding projects will be prioritized in the larger plan.
Several projects included on the 2034 long-range plan also are on the candidate list.
Transit is part of the mix as well, Stith added. Proposals include light rail expansion in Norfolk and a transit line to Virginia Beach. There also are proposals for dedicated transit lanes on the peninsula.
The candidate list includes several proposals submitted by the public, HRTPO spokeswoman Kendall Miller said. The organization conducted a survey of about 1,800 residents of the region and solicited ideas about 18 months ago and received dozens of suggestions. Those range from bike lanes and pedestrian trails, to ferry service from Hampton to Norfolk, to widening the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
The candidate list does not yet include proposed costs. Stith said localities have until May 2 to provide the HRTPO committee with data with which to evaluate the proposals before finalizing the project list.
Miller said HRTPO will hold three public meetings on the proposed list to gather comments and suggestions. One will be in Poquoson, one in Williamsburg and one at the regional building in Chesapeake. The long-range planning subcommittee will meet again in July.
HRTPO 2040 long-range plan candidates
Hampton Roads Transportation Fund (multi-jurisdiction priorities): 9
Multi-jurisdiction candidates: 27
James City County, 16
Newport News, 19
Virginia Beach, 48
York County, 11
Source: Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization
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