The Virginia Department of Transportation released its list of recommended projects for the third round of Smart Scale funding.
Ten of 35 projects submitted for the 14-county Fredericksburg District made the list, which will undergo scrutiny by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and a public hearing before being approved in June.
Among the area submissions making the list were a pair of King George County projects on U.S. 301, shelters and benches for FREDericksburg Rapid Transit bus stops, and a roundabout at the convoluted downtown intersection of Lafayette Boulevard, Kenmore Avenue and Charles Street. Also on the list is a project to add a commuter parking lot along State Route 3 in Stafford County, east of the Blue and Gray Parkway.
Two of the bigger local projects focus on U.S. 1 and Route 3.
One project aiming to improve the intersection of U.S. 1 and Fall Hill Avenue would get $7.2 million in funding. The Route 3 work, which would focus on a variety of improvements along the corridor in Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg, would get $6.3 million.
Another intersection project, at Dixon Street and Lansdowne Road in the city, also made the list and would get $2.7 million in Smart Scale funds.
A Gloucester County pedestrian and bike path project also made the list for the district and would get $7.3 million through the Smart Scale program.
The 10 projects total $40.5 million, down from the first two rounds. The amount of money available for the program has dropped across the board since the inaugural year, when the funding was $1.4 billion.
The second round of smart scale funds totaled $1 billion. This year, approximately $780 million was divvied up between 98 projects across Virginia. All told, the state scored 433 projects, which totaled $7.4 billion in requests.
“It’s the reality we face,” Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine told the CTB at a work session in Richmond this week, when Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nick Donohoe presented the recommended list. She added that state transportation officials have to find a way to pay for the projects. “There’s nowhere else to kick the can.”
Paul Agnello, the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization administrator, echoed Valentine’s take that lack of funding means worthy projects didn’t get funded this time around. He said five regional projects for I–95 were submitted to improve “near-term safety and capacity needs based on our recent I–95 studies, but unfortunately none of them scored well.”
In the first round of Smart Scale, in 2016, the district collected more than $200 million for 19 projects out of 22 submitted. That list included the massive southbound Rappahannock River crossing project on Interstate 95, which will cost $132 million.
In the second round, seven local projects totaling $46 million were picked for funding out of 29 that were scored.