“We just have to try to fund it a different way,” he added.
In 2014, the General Assembly passed a law that requires all new transportation projects to be ranked on how well they would reduce congestion, increase economic development and provide other benefits.
The initial list, which was published last week, placed the project 282 out of 287 in the state under a process created by the passage of House Bill 2 in 2014.
“As a region I feel like we were very successful in getting some much-needed projects [recommended] especially in the rural areas but especially in the city of Charlottesville,” Boyles told the Metropolitan Planning Organization on Wednesday.
Projects to convert two Fluvanna County intersections to roundabouts ranked highly, as did a plan to relocate a portion of School Bus Road in Louisa County. Boyles said three streetscape projects submitted by Charlottesville also could qualify for funding, though the Commonwealth Transportation Board will not make any allocations until May.
Boyles said his staff have analyzed why the project scored so low.
“We got zeroes for economic development and we got zeroes for crash frequency reduction,” Boyles said, adding that there have been no fatalities at the intersection in the past three years.
The MPO voted last summer to recommend Exit 118 as its only project to be submitted under HB2. At the same time, Albemarle County was considering rezoning land in the southwest quadrant of the interchange to lure a brewery to locate there.
Albemarle Supervisor Ann H. Mallek asked if the application for Exit 118 included references to the target industry study, a 2012 document that also was used as a justification to rezone land for the brewery, which lost interest when supervisors limited the size of the rezoning.
Boyles said the study was not specific enough.
“The target study is not an economic development plan,” Boyles said. “It’s just a business target assessment versus what roadway improvements and sewer upgrades would be needed.”
“As you progress through the development of that site you would get more points towards that particular element because you’re investing money into that plan,” Lynch said.
Boyles said the low rank was a result of the MPO’s request for 100 percent of the project’s $146 million cost. Localities and other entities that sought large projects showed other sources of revenue.
Boyles said the project likely will be resubmitted in a scaled-back form and that Albemarle has the opportunity to develop a more specific economic development plan for the interchange.
“Maybe there could be improvements without it being in excess of $100 million and make smaller improvements there that would help to benefit what we see we need,” Boyles said.
Boyle said the second year of going through this process likely will result in different kinds of local applications.
“Now, with experience, we know to get started early,” said Boyles said, particularly on coming up with accurate cost estimates.
In other business, the developer of the Southwood Mobile Home Park wants the MPO to consider consolidating two streetscape projects into a project he’s calling the Biscuit Run Gateway that would aim to connect the future state park to area trail networks.
“As the developer of Southwood, Habitat for Humanity promises to be extremely flexible and to work closely with both jurisdictions, VDOT and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to make this happen,” said Dan Rosensweig, Habitat’s president and chief executive officer.
An $11.7 million project to add bike lanes and new sidewalks on Fontaine Avenue scored 10th out of 17 projects in the Culpeper District. A $16 million project that would build a 10-foot-wide multi-use path on Sunset Avenue Extended was ranked 16th.
“Linking these projects together should help the proposal score much higher in terms of land use, accessibility and economic development,” Rosensweig said.
The Biscuit Run Gateway was added to a vision list of future transportation projects last May. Rosensweig said many parts of the plan just need funding in order to get off the ground as redevelopment of Southwood gets underway.