SELC Responds to Directive to Table Bypass, Instead Focus on Route 29 Improvements

Richmond, VA –The Southern Environmental Law Center released the following statement today in response to an announcement that Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne made to the Commonwealth Transportation Board concerning improvements to the Route 29 corridor in the Charlottesville region.

“Secretary Layne’s convening of an advisory panel to focus on solutions that are cost-effective and that can be implemented in the next four years charts a promising path forward following the recent decisions from the Federal Highway Administration and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to halt the destructive and wasteful Charlottesville ‘western’ bypass proposal,” said Trip Pollard, SELC Senior Attorney and Director of the Land and Community Program.

“We were glad to hear that the McAuliffe administration clearly intends to keep the money that had been allocated to the bypass proposal in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area and put it toward fixing the traffic issues on Route 29,” said Morgan Butler, SELC Senior Attorney and Director of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Project. “And we appreciate Secretary Layne making clear that it makes no sense for the advisory panel to consider the doomed Charlottesville bypass proposal any further following the Federal Highway Administration’s recent pronouncement on that project and its other fatal flaws.”

Pollard will represent SELC as one of ten members of the advisory panel and said he looks forward to the group getting to work. “ Based on Chairman Shucet’s service as a VDOT Commissioner, I’m confident he’ll be able to keep us all focused on solutions that will improve traffic flow on Route 29 – but without the long list of negative impacts that accompanied the bypass,” said Pollard. “This is our best chance in a long time to get something positive done, and now is the time for the different regions along the 29 corridor to come together and make sure that happens.”

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The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.