Pre-Applications for TAP Due: May 15-July 1

The Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds bicycle, pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School projects, will now require pre-applications to be submitted prior to final applications for the next round of TAP funding. Mandatory pre-applications will be accepted between May 15 and July 1, 2019. Final applications are due by October 1, 2019.

VDOT is holding Transportation Alternatives Program application workshops for localities that are interested in applying for funding. The workshops will review program eligibility, application process, and scoring criteria. CSPDC localities are encouraged to attend the workshop scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 10:00 am at the VDOT Culpepper District Office. CSPDC staff are also available to assist with writing and submitting TAP applications.

CSPDC Director Attends DDAA-NADO Conference in D.C.

The Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) held its joint 2019 Washington DC conference last month. CSPDC Executive Director Bonnie Riedesel along with 500 other local development directors from around the country attended the annual conference in Arlington.
The conference offered an opportunity for DDAA and NADO members to come to the Nation’s Capital to gain valuable insight into national issues and learn about new federal policy priorities, while still focusing on building strong regional economies and communities back home. The three main topic areas that were covered at the conference included rural broadband, entrepreneurship, and substance abuse and its impact on the workforce.

While there, a group of Virginia PDC directors, VAPDC president and VAPDC Director met with several of Virginia’s congressional staff and legislative aides at the Capital. This meeting was an opportunity to highlight some of the projects and programs in the PDC regions and leverage future federal investments and support for these programs.

GO Virginia Region 8 Holds Project Pipeline Summits

The GO Virginia Region 8 Council recently launched its first, annual “Call for Projects” to identify and prioritize projects for the Fiscal Year 2020 that cultivate new jobs and opportunities across the Shenandoah Valley.

To begin the project prioritization process, Region 8 held two GO Virginia summit meetings at Lord Fairfax Community College and Blue Ridge Community College on March 13 and 14. Nearly 80 local, regional, education, and non-profit partners convened to generate two extensive lists of potential project opportunities. Following the summits, the Region 8 Council invited organizations to submit project ideas by completing and submitting Project Abstracts. The outcomes of the collective brainstorming sessions have been captured and compiled under each of the four GO Virginia frameworks: Workforce Development, Start-Ups/Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Site Development, and Business Scale-up & Commercialization. The Region 8 Council will discuss these project ideas at their April 23 meeting.

John Deere Publication, The Furrow, Highlights Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold Farm Trail members Laruel Fork Sapsuckers, Meadow Croft Farm, Mountain View Farm, Rockbridge Vineyards, and Showalter’s Orchard were featured among other Shenandoah Valley farmers in The Furrow’s March 2019 issue.

The Furrow is the United State’s edition of the worldwide farm magazine published in 12 languages by John Deere & Company and its subsidiaries. The article entitled Oh Shenandoah; A place where farmers gladly welcome visitors discusses the region’s agricultural heritage, product diversity and the Fields of Gold Farm Trail program. The publication is sent as a courtesy to over 50,000 John Deere equipment owners across the country.

CSPDC Receives FEMA Funds to Update Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management received $3,017,393 in pre and post-disaster mitigation grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A portion of the awarded funds will go to the CSPDC to update the Central Shenandoah Valley All Hazards Mitigation Plan. The total cost of the Plan update is $101,385. FEMA will provide 75%, the State will provide 20%, and the CSPDC will provide the remaining 5% of the matched funds.

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA2K) requires that local governments develop and adopt Hazard Mitigation Plans that are updated every five years in order to receive hazard mitigation grant funds. The updated Central Shenandoah Valley All Hazards Mitigation Plan, originally approved in 2006 and last updated in 2013, is now anticipated to be adopted by the 21 jurisdictions in the Central Shenandoah Planning District in the winter of 2020. The planning process will kick off this month at a meeting of appointed representatives of each of the jurisdictions and other interested organizations and stakeholders.

50 Years of Transportation Planning

When Planning Districts formed in 1969, the highway system in the central Shenandoah Valley was just beginning to resemble what we know today. The last segment of Interstate 81 to be constructed in the CSPDC region, from Stuarts Draft to Harrisonburg, opened that same year. Interstate 64 from Staunton to Afton Mountain was completed shortly after in 1971. The completion of the interstate network brought the expansion of highway trucking that transformed the national economy, and set in motion a trend that is still being concentrated on today.

With the region’s increase in population and industry along the spines of I-81 and I-64, the CSPDC created its first Transportation Planning Program in 1971. This established a two-year plan to inventory and analyze the transportation network, and develop recommendations for new projects.

Over the last 50 years, the CSPDC region has evolved from being mostly rural, dotted with small cities and towns, to a region with two metropolitan planning areas, seven institutions of higher learning, two regional medical centers, three public transit systems, and a busy regional airport. The PDC has worked with the state and localities to develop corridor and access management plans, write grant applications for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, develop regional long range plans, and is still the only Planning District to form and administer two Metropolitan Planning Organizations and operate a public transit system. Today the region’s transportation investments are multi-modal, but still focus on the goals of improving safety, supporting economic development, and ensuring access to jobs and services.