Since 2017, the Charlottesville-Albemarle, and Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have had an agreement in place to coordinate planning activities of mutual interest to both regions. A Memorandum of Understanding documents the collaboration between the two regions, with a focus on transportation-related projects along the I-64 and U.S. 250 corridor.
The formal agreement between the two MPOs dates back to September 2017, but the MPOs have been discussing projects of regional significance at joint Policy Board meetings since 2015. The two Policy Boards met annually from 2015 to 2019. The meetings were placed on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not occur until September 27 of this year, when the two groups came together to revive the meetings. Traditionally, the location of the meeting alternates between the two regions. This year’s meeting was hosted by the SAWMPO and held at the Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro.
On the agenda were presentations on three projects of regional interest – the Afton Express bus service presented by Paula Melester (Regional Planner, CSPDC) and Kendall Howell (Asst. Director for Transportation, UVA Parking & Transportation); the restoration of the Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel presented by Dwayne Jones (Director of Parks & Recreation, City of Waynesboro); and an update on the Three Notched Trail, presented by Jessica Hersh-Ballering (Principal Transportation Planner, Albemarle County) and Allie Hill (Chair of the Three Notched Trail Planning Group). District leaders from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Sean Nelson and Todd Stevens provided updates on projects in each of the two regions. Zach Trogdon and Tiffany Dubinsky made remarks on behalf of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).
The meeting was a success with over 50 people from both regions in attendance. The guests enjoyed the presentations and appreciated the opportunity to gather with colleagues. One attendee said they enjoyed how celebratory the meeting felt with each region sharing news of projects they had been working on in the three years since the last meeting was held.
During the meeting, each Policy Board held a vote to reaffirm the Memorandum of Understanding. Both votes resulted in unanimous support for the continued partnership. The next joint meeting will be held in the fall of 2024 and will be hosted by the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO at a location to be determined.