Gubernatorial Candidates on 29 Bypass

TrvlnMn writes: “The candidates for state govenor take positions of
varying degrees on a much needed (?) U.S. 29 bypass during typical election year campaigning and illustrating they are both willing to jump (probably blindfolded) into the quagmire that is the area’s transportation and development issues. From today’s article in the Daily Progress:

Jerry W. Kilgore supports a U.S. 29 bypass around Charlottesville…


“I would be willing to work with this region to determine the site” of a U.S. 29 bypass route, Kilgore said this month. “I think it’s time to get it started.”

“I think it’s important for this region and it’s very important for the regions south of here,” the GOP candidate said.

Democratic candidate Timothy M. Kaine holds very different views on transportation and criticized the Charlottesville U.S. 29 proposed western bypass route as outdated because development has overtaken that route’s usefulness.

Kaine expressed interest in a much longer parkway route proposed in recent months by Del. Mitchell Van Yahres, D-Charlottesville, that would take the northern end of a parkway around much of northern Albemarle’s development along U.S. 29….

I wouldn’t be surprised if the candidates’ positions on the bypass swayed some votes in Albemarle.

15 thoughts on “Gubernatorial Candidates on 29 Bypass”

  1. “I think it’s important for this region and it’s very important for the regions south of here,” the GOP candidate said.

    I think that statement alone tells you who Kilgore was really reaching out to, Lynchburg and Southside voters who don’t realize that the bypass will do little to decrease traffic here and even less to boost their economies. Ive been waiting for a story on the gubernatorial race and I can say that this story proves what I have been thinking all along, Jerry Kilgore will say or do anything to get elected.
    He knows that people know very little about the bypass and know that when we hear about a proposed road we immediately think of the traffic jams we sit in everyday and think any road is a good road. I used to support it but after a bit of research I know that it won’t do anything to reduce traffic on 29 while costing the tax payer a fortune (I though Kilgore was supposed to be the one wise about spending tax dollars?). Development has long passed the begining/terminus of the proposed bypass (Forest Lakes South entrance) and it would be useless especially since 90% of the traffic on 29 is local. Surely Tim Kaine knows this, Jerry Kilgore does, as well as Russ Potts. Tim Kaine based his opinion on facts and what he knows is right, Kilgore based his on what the voters want to hear. Great political move on Kilgore’s part but tacky, to say the least, in terms of an educated and truthful move.

  2. Kaine scored some points here with anyone who knows the situation, but how many is that? I agree with UVA08, Kilgore seems to be playing the numbers – which is a generous appraisal. He may be just ignorant.

    Anyway, from the circles I’m in, the “life” issues may be the key ones. Transportation may be hotter in a few years, when VDOT is predicted to run out of money, but right now I don’t think it is a deciding factor.

  3. UVA08, I was wondering if you can link a report that supports the idea that the bypass will not help traffic. I am curious to learn. My thoughts is that more cars equals more traffic. And that more roads equals more cars to have choices. Everytime, I head out to Shortpump/Richmond, the traffic doesn’t seem to be that bad as 29. Maybe I am missing something. But yea, I want to learn why the bypass would be a bad idea.

  4. If you never have, spend some time driving on 29 South. Maybe drive back and forth to Lovingston and get a sense of the traffic. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a day trip to Danville. Compare to 29 North. Ponder how many cars, exactly, need to drive around Charlottesville and where, exactly, they’d be going to or from. Bonus points will be awarded for a comparative traffic count.

  5. I have a parent who lives in Nelson county and there are very few people who actually use the road as a major commuting corridor. I can think of ways that it might make traffic worse. If people, both north and south, think that 29 might get them to their desired locations quicker or in the same time as 81 or 95 MORE people may start using it. IamDaMan lets say they do build the bypass as proposed ( from forest lakes south to the current bypass) and it takes ALL of that 10% of through traffic off 29. Ok traffic on 29 would decrease by 10%. So then a couple years pass. Greene continues to grow at 40% every ten years, the hosuing portion of Hollymeand town center is completed, North Pointe is approved, and they sell those acres of woods on each side of 29 between wal mart and target…. Will having a bypass for out of towners really do THAT much to reduce traffic?? Ive said it before and i’ll say it again, I agree with Mark Warner and Tim Kaine’s position. The proposed bypass is outdated. It was proposed before Greene became a sprawling bedroom community, before Hollymead town center, before North Pointe, and the built out stage of Forest Lakes. Not only that Kilgore is ignoring a major fact, the Albemarle County BOS is and has been run by Republicans. Every time the bypass comes up they vote it down

    My biggest issue with the bypass, however, is the outrageous cost that could be going to something that will actually have a bigger impact on traffic. So lets say IamDaMan that you still think its worth it to get that 10% off of 29. What if I told you that cost is about 40 million dollars a mile which comes out to about 240 million dollars for the total project. So what, people like you and Jerry Kilgore want is to spend 240 million dollars on a project to take 10% of the traffic off 29, when we could have spent it to extend the Meadowcreek Parkway, extend Berkmar, build an eastern connector, a southern parkway, and extend Hillsdale. These project will give more options to 90% of the people on 29 as opposed to just 10%. To me that seems more logical in both a common sense way and in terms of fisical responsibility. But then again it seems as if Republicans these days do not care about either one.

    Like I said Kilgore does not care about the facts, just what it would take to get elected governor so he can spend our state back into Gilmore-like debt. BTW you all should check out the Washington Post, Kilgore is making the very same promises to people of northern virginia about route 66 inside the beltway. Of course the people who actually know what they are talking about oppose his plan. Guys please don’t be so guliable.

  6. My biggest issue is that everyone who doesn’t like the bypass has no real solution for an alternative. Okay fine you don’t think it will help the traffic. If we were to elect you, how would you deal with the traffic?

    i always read solutions like:

    Streetcars/public transportion – great idea for those people living in CVille. But what about us folks in the county. Heck, there was a subway from the Forest Lakes area to the downtown, I would be riding that everyday.

    Control growth – great idea but then again everyone is moving to Greene and outside the area. Yet they commute to Cville on 29. Hell, with the housing market going crazy, the hard working folks won’t even be able to live in the area they work in. More people moving outwards means more cars.

    It seems to me that 29 is a mess around 4 to 6. So I just want to know what would be your solutions.

    I agree that the bypass model may be dated. But I heard someone’s suggestion that a new bypass be drawn up. Someone was saying that it should start near the NGIC/Research Park instead of Forest Lakes and end up near Ivy where it would be a clear shot to 64 and 29.

  7. Streetcars/public transportion – great idea for those people living in CVille. But what about us folks in the county.

    Us county folks benefit, too, because that’s that many less cars on the road.

  8. I have a few ideas. Extend Meadowcreek parkway to Proffit, Eastern Connector linking pantops with 29 north, a communter rail system that would run from Ruckersville to Charlottesville, Crozet to Charlottesville, Zion Crossroads to Charlottesville. I cant think of too many bypasses that have been successful. From the Capital Beltway in Washington DC to the 664 route in Tidewater, they just seem to get as congested as all the rest. After that people usually demand yet another bypass to bypass the old bypass.
    BTW here is a link to VDOTs 6-year improvement plan. See how many plans you can mix and match to equal 240 million dollars. Its actually a fun game.

    Charlottesville plans:

    Albemarle Plans

  9. The only solution will be to add more lanes to 29. That or add an alternative local traffic route.

    Albermarle has decided to permit commerical growth all along 29N thus adding additional traffic lights. Greene is permitting more homes near 29 that will add traffic.

    A bypass won’t work since this is local traffic and planning won’t work since it is creating this to begin with.

    If Albermarle permitted much greater home building growth SOUTH of town but near the interstate and Rt 250 along with commerical growth there, then the local traffic could stay, well, more local.

  10. Jessica Kitchin has a good article this morning in the DP that discusses a recent study’s conclusion that bypasses would not work as – you guessed it – most of the traffic is local. In this study’s case, 67% versus the oft-quoted 90%. Whichever stat you pick, a bypass does not seem to be the solution.

    This article in the DP last week shows Kilgore supporting the bypass. The Rio District BoS race is another race where the candidates have opposing views on a bypass. Grant is for it, Slutzky is against.

    I think that we should look seriously at some form of efficient mass-transit. We all seem to agree here that growth is going to happen. Why not plan for it?

  11. UVA08 “he can spend our state back into Gilmore-like debt.” While you make some good points this statement detracts. Since the state has a balanced budget any new debt has a revenue source. I would be surprised to find out that Virginia has reduced the debt burden during the Warner years.

    UVA08 Says “Not only that Kilgore is ignoring a major fact, the Albemarle County BOS is and has been run by Republicans” This is false. There are two republicans (Ken Boyd, David Wyant), one democrat (Lindsay Dorrier) and three Independents (Sally Thomas, Dennis Rooker, And David Bowerman). David Bowerman use to be a republican but became an independent and started supporting democratic candidates. The two seats on the powerful transportation board are controlled by Dennis Rooker and Sally Thomas, two people who have never been accused of being republicans. Votes for the bypass come from the republicans and the opposition comes from the independents.

    You accuse others of ignoring facts and then do the same thing.

    As to the cost of the bypass could someone link me to the $240 million? I have seen this figure but someone needs to show their work. I am not convinced this is a clean number. I have seen this in water studies as well. Often times many project are cobbled together to make one project seem much larger than it really is.
    I would like mass transit to work but I am doubtful. Our current system is drastically underused. As the Cville MSA gets wealthier the chances for mass transit get slimmer. I rarely see professional looking people waiting to ride buses anywhere but on grounds. If we were serious there would be a bus line from downtown to Forest Lakes.

  12. As for the 90% claim first of all read the Daily Progress closer. It says 67% of the traffic starts at the 250 bypass and ends at the Rivanna bridge by Wal Mart. It does not include anything North of there. .This is one of the stories I read with the 90 percent quote, I will search for a more hard numbers later.

    “Independent incumbent Dennis S. Rooker of the Jack Jouett District agreed with that position, pointing out that estimates show a bypass would cost $270 million. “Transportation studies have shown that 90 percent of the traffic in the 29 corridor is local,” Rooker said. “So it becomes very difficult to justify [the expense].””

    If you’d like to read it yourself look at the October 21, 2005 edition of the Daily Progress.

  13. While you make some good points this statement detracts. Since the state has a balanced budget any new debt has a revenue source. I would be surprised to find out that Virginia has reduced the debt burden during the Warner years.

    Jim Gilmore played two tricks with the budget. The first was that he delayed tax refunds in his final year in office, until the end of the state’s fiscal year, so that the budget would appear to be balanced when, in fact, it was not. It was in the sense that the money was in the bank, but they money wasn’t supposed to be in the bank — that was the people’s money that he wrongly held onto.

    The second was that he passed off the revenue reductions to localities. So he drastically cut taxes without cutting state spending. Oh shit, Gilmore thought, how do I cut spending?. Easy, he found out — just refuse to pay localities the money that they’re due. Like the car tax. The car tax is not a state tax, it’s a local tax. It’s a major source of revenue for localities. So Gilmore slashed that without providing any new revenue to localities.

    Let’s look back on what happened. First, Gov. Warner got in office and discovered Gilmore had padded the state’s coffers with money that existed only on paper, and was forced to make immediate, drastic cuts in spending in order to balance the budget. Second, localities were forced to make due without billions in local taxes, which Richmond had simply taken from them. So they had to raise other taxes, most notably real estate taxes, because they, too, needed a balanced budget.

    Virginia has reduced the debt burden during the Warner years — that’s what keeping our AAA bond rating was all about. Had Warner kept the Gilmore debt level, our bond rating would have been slashed and the interest on our debt would have skyrocketed. Warner not only reduced our debt, but prevented the debt increase that would have accompanied increased the interest accrued under Gilmore-style mismanagement.

    For more, see Virginia Business’ July 2001 “Car tax blues“.

  14. UVA08 the fact that a Denis Rooker said the bypass would be $270 million doesn’t do anything to convince me that it’s a clean number. No one hates the bypass more than Rooker and this is an election year. Again I would like to see that number spelled out to make sure. “trust but verify”.

    Waldo nothing you wrote address the state debt burden , ratings are about ability to pay, not amount that you owe. It will take a little time to find but I am willing to bet that the amount of debt Virginia has did not decline during Warner years. What I have seen are assertions about cash flow (AAA ratings for example) have improved. Lastly the governor isn’t the sole point of blame since any budget must be approved by the legislature. I agree that the car tax did not turn out as advertized.

    All of this stands in constrast to the huge increases in property tax revenues bought by skyrocketing home values. Any local short falls have been addressed by a real estate boom. Charlottesville tax revenue was up so much they could afford to reduce the tax rate.

    The car tax wasn’t a success however many localites have done very well without it.

  15. Since the 1996-98 biennium budget cycle (former Gov. Jim Gilmore’s first budget) the Commonwealth’s budget has seen a dramatic increase. In just 10 years, the budget has increased more than 80 percent—an average of 16 percent each biennium over this time. If you take a year by year approach the budget has more than doubled! At this rate the biennium budget will reach more than $110 billion in 2012-1014.

    Each of the last two years the Commonwealth has enjoyed a surplus. Last year’s was $324 million and there will be a surplus of at least $1.2 billion at the end of this year. A portion of these surpluses was, by law, channeled into the rainy day fund and the rest was quickly gobbled up by additional state spending. Facing an even larger surplus this year, new additional spending quickly swallowed the surplus whole.

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