VA: FAMPO Signs Off on Funding for Area Transportation Projects

June 17--The Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board on Monday approved a list of federally funded projects and selected an acting replacement for its retiring administrator.

The project list, known as the Transportation Improvement Program, covers four years--2015 to 2018. It includes a range of projects in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania and Stafford counties.

The total allocated, or expected to be allocated, to the projects is $71.3 million. Most of the funds are federal, but also include state and local money.

Three people spoke during a public hearing held before the FAMPO board voted. Two of the speakers are regulars in transportation circles who also serve on FAMPO's Transportation Advisory Group.

Rupert Farley spoke against the TIP, saying transportation planners need to move to a mass transit-based system instead of building more roads.

Fran Larkins spoke in support of the Rappahannock River Crossing project, which will add collector-distributor lanes to Interstate 95, but said the area needs an outer bypass.

Dale Hendon, with the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports the TIP and specifically the river crossing project.

There was little discussion by the board before it voted to support the TIP.

Spotsylvania's representatives--Supervisors David Ross and Tim McLaughlin and County Administrator Doug Barnes--voted against the TIP.

Their reason for doing so is the Rappahannock Parkway, which is part of the river crossing project. Spotsylvania representatives have fought against the parkway for more than two years.

While some funding was recently added to the parkway for studies, there is no money in the TIP to build it. But Ross and McLaughlin want it removed completely, saying the parkway is not a good plan and would be a waste of money.

Of the numerous projects on the list, there are some big ones.

The I-95 express lanes are on the list, although most of the nearly $1 billion project is being paid for with private funds. The proposed widening of I-95 between Centreport Parkway and Garrisonville also is in the TIP.

As with many of the projects on the list, the TIP provides only a fraction of the estimated $130 million cost of adding a fourth lane and widening of the shoulders.

The TIP allocates $40.5 million for the Rappahannock River Crossing, expected to cost $200 million.

Other major projects in the TIP include the Falmouth intersection project, the I-95 interchange reconstruction on Stafford's Courthouse Road, the new Spotsylvania Virginia Railway Station and commuter lot expansions.

In other business, the board appointed Andy Waple as acting FAMPO administrator. He has been a principal planner with FAMPO for eight years.

The current administrator, Lloyd Robinson, is retiring July 1.

FAMPO will advertise for a long-term replacement.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

Copyright 2014 - The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.