Transportation board releases draft 6-year program

Funding to widen stretches of Interstate 64 from Henrico to Goochland and money to begin preliminary engineering work to improve the Parham Road-Patterson Avenue intersection are included in the draft 2012-17 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) released by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) this week.

The new SYIP includes more than 900 projects recommended for funding through Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation legislation adopted by the 2011 General Assembly and signed into law earlier this week.

The program would propose funding the widening 4.5 miles of I-64 east and west from Route 288 in Short Pump to the Route 623 interchange in Goochland County. Other local projects included in the funding proposal include:

• preliminary engineering and design for the relocation of 1.5 miles of Springfield Road between Nuckols Road and Staples Mill Road;

• the replacement of three Route 360 bridges over the Chickahominy River in Henrico and one in Hanover;

• widening Route 10 in Chesterfield from Ware Bottom Springs Road to Meadowville Road;

• engineering and design work to prepare for the widening of Route 360 in Hanover between Lee Davis Road and Walnut Grove Road;

• the replacement of the Route 609 bridge at Amelia/Powhatan line;

• widening Route 711 and replacing the bridge at the Chesterfield/Powhatan line. 

“Over the last several years, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has cut more than $4 billion from its program,” McDonnell said. “At the same time, our roads and bridges have continued to deteriorate and congestion and demand for alternative modes of transportation have continued to grow. Thanks to the bipartisan support of this year’s transportation package, we will make an upfront investment in restoring our transportation system and addressing these critical needs. This infusion of funds will help accelerate or complete the more than 900 projects I recommended as part of the package. These projects will benefit all regions of the Commonwealth, both rural and urban, and will help provide jobs for thousands of Virginians in desperate need of work without raising taxes.”

The draft SYIP consists of a construction program totaling $10.4 billion, with $8.1 billion for VDOT and $2.3 billion for the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. In addition to funding major interstate, public-privat, and mass transit projects, the SYIP also would fund needs on the primary, secondary and urban systems for the first time in several years. 

Funding for the transportation package includes $1.8 billion in Capital Project Revenue (CPR) Bonds, $1.1 billion of Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) Bonds and $283 million for the capitalization of the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank funds (VTIB).  The CPR Bonds will be issued during the next three years, with $600 million in fiscal years 2011-2013. The GARVEE Bonds will also be issued during the next three fiscal years.

The CTB board will accept public comment on the plan during a public hearing May 18 at the Virginia Department of Transportation office located at 1221 East Broad Street in Richmond. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Following public hearings around the state, the CTB will vote on a final plan on June 15 for the July 1 fiscal year.
 
To view the draft SYIP, visit http://syip.virginiadot.org. For details about other CTB actions, visit http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings.asp. For details about VDOT projects and programs, visit http://www.VirginiaDOT.org.
 
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HCPS wins national honor for overhaul of Code of Student Conduct, supports


Henrico County Public Schools recently was recognized by the National School Boards Association for a sweeping overhaul of the school division’s approach to student supports. HCPS was one of five large U.S. school systems recognized with a first-place honor in the 2017 Magna Awards, presented Saturday in Denver at the organization’s annual conference. The awards recognize school divisions and leaders “for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities,” according to the group.

The award recognizes Henrico Schools’ efforts of the past several years, from re-examining its policies to implementing more support systems. After a two-year conversation with the community through public hearings and other feedback, HCPS adopted a revised Code of Student Conduct for the 2015-16 school year. > Read more.

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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Dr. Douglas Ottafi will visit River Road Presbyterian Church Mar. 31 through Apr. 2 to speak about the topic "Who is Jesus Christ?" Ottafi will speak Mar. 31 at 3 p.m. at Union Seminary in a lecture that is open to the public. The following day, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Ottafi will make a presentation at River Road Presbyterian Church, 8960 River Road. On Apr. 2, from 10 to 10:50 a.m., Ottafi will speak to the Adult Sunday School and then make a presentation at the church from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ottafi, the author of numerous books and articles, is the Craig Family Distinguished Professor of Reformed Theology and Justice at Davidson College, past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and former professor of theology and ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary. For details, contact the church at 740-7083 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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