In February, construction will begin on Albemarle County’s portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway . But the state budget crisis continues to threaten one of the County’s other top-three secondary road priorities—Improvements to add bike lanes and sidewalks to Jarmans Gap Road in Crozet.
Allan Sumpter, the Administrator of VDOT’s Charlottesville Residency, appeared before the Board as part of his monthly transportation update. He warned the Board that additional cuts to secondary road funds may have to be made because of the continued slowdown in the economy.
“Our budget for the six year planning period that you all approved for [late in 2008] was $20.5 million,” Sumpter said. “That has now been reduced and our funding for that same period is now $15.5 million.”
Sumpter said the reduction would be felt across all categories of road projects, but that bridge replacement projects will be spared.
Sumpter said the project to add sidewalks to Georgetown Road will go forward, but has already been scaled back to accommodate the $3 million that the County has banked towards its construction. However, Jarmans Gap Road could be delayed again from its projected November 2010 advertisement date because of the funding gap.
“The way that our funding schemes are set up, we must have the money banked by the year that the project is completed, and as of right now we’re right around $2 million short,” Sumpter said. That may mean applying for additional revenue sharing money from VDOT, or possibly scaling the project back.
Sumpter also said that the possibility of paving Dickerson Road using state funds for unpaved road is reduced because the annual allocation for the program is likely to dwindle to about $250,000 a year. Reductions to the rural rustic paving program could mean that only one project could be undertaken each year.
Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) said the County was fortunate to have been accruing money for its three top transportation priorities, but that it would be nearly impossible to build future projects because of the dwindling allocations. Sumpter agreed and said that a project such as the one to add bike lanes and sidewalks to Old Ivy Road would take some years to save up for.
Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier (Scottsville) asked Sumpter how his residency was preparing for the possibility of a federal stimulus package. Sumpter responded that his staff is identifying projects that could be ready to go to construction within six months of receiving funding, but that everything is purely speculation at this point. Rooker said that the County has already submitted a letter identifying two widening projects on US 29 as priorities for the Culpeper District. However, Chairman David Slutzky (Rio) reminded the Board that there was a possibility that localities might be required to provide a local match.