WIP Toolkit

Chesapeake Bay WIP Program Stormwater Toolkit

Check out the new Stormwater Toolkit developed by the Central Shenandoah PDC for the Chesapeake Bay WIP program.  This toolkit  (please click link) provides resources for stormwater runoff management, including best practices, helpful links, and educational activities. We hope this will be a useful document for our localities and local watershed organizations.

TAP Pre-Applications Submitted

Every two years, eligible applicants in our region submit project applications for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which funds non-motorized transportation projects like sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. The CSPDC partnered with multiple local governments to submit eight TAP applications by the October 1, 2021 deadline. VDOT will review the applications and announce project awards in spring 2022.

Counties Apply for State Broadband Funds

On behalf of the Bath-Highland Network Authority (BHNA), the CSPDC applied for 2022 VATI funds with MGW serving as co-applicant to bring universal broadband coverage to Bath and Highland counties. The over $10 million project will deploy last mile fiber to 2,470 locations in both counties.

The CSPDC also assisted Rockbridge County with their 2022 VATI application consisting of two projects totaling over $21 million. BARC Electric and the Rockbridge Area Network Authority (RANA) served as co-applicants in the proposal that includes two projects providing high-speed internet to 2,338 premises located in remote areas with difficult topography.

Augusta and Rockingham counties partnered with six other counties in the northern Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont region on a $300M VATI broadband project. If funded, All Points Broadband, Dominion Energy, and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative will work together to deploy fiber-to-the-home infrastructure to 42,693 locations in the eight-county region.

Awards are expected to be announced in December 2021.

Data Research for Recovery Plan Completed

Chumra Economics and Analytics has been working with the CSPDC to provide local and regional data that will be included in the Central Shenandoah Pandemic Recovery and Resiliency Plan. Data analysis by Chmura includes the impact of the pandemic on various industry sectors and employment, including the effect on downtowns and the housing and commercial real estate markets. New business trends such as the sizable employee shift to teleworking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is also included in the analysis.

The next step in completion of the Plan will be for the CSPDC to integrate Chmura’s research into the overall planning document. It is anticipated that the Pandemic Recovery and Resiliency Plan will be completed and available for distribution in early 2022.

Afton Express Bus Begins Service

The Afton Express bus service connecting Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro to Charlottesville began operations on September 1. Ridership has continued to grow throughout the month.

A survey is being distributed to current riders exploring their satisfaction with the routing and schedule and soliciting any suggestions for potential service improvements. Surveys will be evaluated in October and will impact upcoming marketing efforts.

During the month of September, Afton Express passengers rode fare-free. Beginning October 1, a $3 one-way fare started to be collected. A cost saving ten-trip fare card for $25 is also available to frequent riders. Follow the Afton Express Facebook page for up-to-date information.

Elkton Hosts Rural Transportation Meeting

Local government representatives gathered in the Town of Elkton for the CSPDC’s Rural Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (RTTAC) to discuss transportation planning issues and tour several sites in the Town. In attendance were representatives from the counties of Augusta, Rockbridge, Rockingham, the towns of Elkton and Timberville, and the City of Buena Vista.

The meeting featured a roundtable discussion with VDOT Staunton District staff regarding transportation grant funding opportunities. The meeting concluded with a walking tour of a potential site for the Town’s planned greenway trailhead, and the newly renovated Jennings House, a 180-year old historic building now serving as Town Hall.

The RTTAC meets every quarter and facilitates regional coordination for smaller communities on transportation-related issues. The next RTTAC meeting is scheduled for December 16, 2021.

BRITE Kicks Off Transit Development Plan

The CSPDC/BRITE Transit Development Plan (TDP) kicked off at the BRITE Transit Advisory Committee’s (BTAC) September meeting. The BTAC serves as the advisory committee for developing the plan with KFH Group serving as lead consultant. During the kick-off meeting, KFH Group reviewed the scope of work and schedule for the plan, as well as discussed unmet transit needs in the service area and the existing BRITE transit goals.

A TDP is a state required, multi-year planning document that is intended to provide direction for a transit system and its community partners. The planning process identifies transit needs, develops potential improvements, and identifies the resources needed to implement the projects.

2020 Census Data

In August, the U.S. Census Bureau launched state-by-state profiles highlighting the preliminary findings of the 2020 Census. In addition to data on population growth, race, and the Hispanic population, the rollout also included totals for housing units and vacancy.

The total number of reported housing units in the CSPDC region is 131,088, a 4.5% increase since the 2010 Census estimate. In comparison, Virginia has seen a 7.5% increase in housing units over the past 10 years. Some localities have experienced more rapid housing unit growth than others; for example, housing units in Harrisonburg increased by 6.8% over the past decade.

Vacancy in the CSPDC region is estimated at 10%, which is a 2.6% decrease from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS) five year estimate. The State has consistently maintained a slightly lower vacancy rate, where vacancy currently sits at 8.2%.

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service announced that more detailed data, including information on age, gender, family type, and homeownership, will not be released until 2022. The Weldon Cooper Center also cautions that there are significant data reliability concerns with Census 2020 data. Every data element has been injected with “noise” through a new method called “differential privacy” – which involves artificially increasing or decreasing numbers. Additionally, the pandemic negatively impacted Census participation and results. The CSPDC will monitor the Census website for any updates regarding future data releases.