Taking Control

Taking Control

Virginia's highway dollars are doled out by an appointed body known as the Commonwealth Transportation Board. On Nov. 1, area residents will have the chance to tell the board what the state's road priorities should be. The board, in conjunction with VDOT is holding a hearing to solicit input about what should go into the upcoming six-year plan, which guides how the state will fund new construction.

Representatives from VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will be on hand to hear suggestions about rail, public transportation, commuter service, bicycle, pedestrian and interstate and primary highway projects.

At this point, there is no draft of a new plan, said Ryan Hall, a VDOT spokesperson. "This is a workshop to help put it together."

Hall suggested that interested residents review the current plan. They can then make suggestions such as shifting the priorities or adding new ideas.

Individuals will each have three minutes to speak.

"Citizens can be successful if they state, really clearly, two things," said Doug Koelemay, Northern Virginia's representative to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

First, they must clearly describe the problem, and second, what value the solution will have, he said.

With the current lack of substantial transportation funding, Koelemay said, prioritizing projects is becoming more difficult and more critical. "It makes it even more important, on the decisions we make, to use our resources wisely."

The current plan is available at http://syip.virginiadot.org.

Hearings will be held across the state. The Northern Virginia hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1, at 6 p.m., in the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

Written comments may be sent to Public Information Officer, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, 1313 E. Main St., Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23218-0590 or via e-mail to drptpr@drpt.virginia.gov.