VDOT Fudged Response Time Figures

Jeremy Borden has a lengthy article about the proposed closure of the western Albemarle VDOT maintenance facility in today’s Progress with several interesting new bits of information. There are 91 such closures proposed around the state.

At last week’s community meeting in Free Union, VDOT insisted that western Albemarle County’s would continue to be maintained at VDOT’s minimum level of service. They left out an important detail that an audience member had to point out — that VDOT’s minimum level of service is considerably lower than the current level of service. But the Progress has pointed out that the story is worse still. VDOT’s been reporting in their presentations that their maintenance standard is that any given portion of road should be within a 45-minute drive from a maintenance facility. Turns out they just came up with that — the standard was long 30 minutes, but they raised it in order to reduce the quality of service without having to admit that they were reducing the quality of service. Naturally, they’ve chosen not to point this out in their presentations. Of course, they’ve provided virtually no data to the public, so this isn’t unusual.

The Progress also points out that this money-saving plan doesn’t seem to be a money saving plan at all. They’ve thrown around large figures to demonstrate the cost savings, but don’t trumpet the point that that money will then have to go to pay private contractors to do the same work.

A final point in the article that left me a bit tweaked is Del. Rob Bell’s plan to hold a conference call between concerned residents and Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer. This whole VDOT outsourcing / shutdown plan has come about because many members of the General Assembly refuse to fund transportation at a level that will allow basic service to continue, even though a special session to accomplish just that was held this fall. Del. Rob Bell was one of the representatives who voted against the funding increases and for this outsourcing plan. Though it’s nice that he’s holding a conference call, the problem that so concerns him is of his own making. He could introduce a bill tomorrow that would fix this if he were genuinely sympathetic to his constituents’ concerns.

9pm Update: On a related note, Bob Gibson writes that Republicans are going to lose more seats if they don’t do something about transportation.

Harry F. Byrd came to power in the 1920s by championing fiscal commonsense in road funding, establishing the organization that became VDOT with The Byrd Road Law of 1932. It took more than sixty years for Republicans to regain the majority after that. How long will they be in the wilderness after they’re done screwing it up this time around?

8 Responses to “VDOT Fudged Response Time Figures”


  • Waldo, you ever think about a run at the 58th?

  • Bell: a short haired Schilling.

  • Waldo, you ever think about a run at the 58th?

    Yes…I think about how badly I’d lose. :) I’m not sure that a Democrat can win the 58th. The demographics just don’t support it.

  • “Yes…I think about how badly I’d lose. :) I’m not sure that a Democrat can win the 58th. The demographics just don’t support it.”

    Do you know who carried the 58th in the Senate race? Looking at the precincts it seems like Webb did pretty well especially in Albemarle. Even looking at the less controversial candidate, Virgil Goode, you will notice that he didn’t do as well in the conservative Albemarle precincts as you expect (save Stone Robinson and Scottsville of course).

    I am not saying it will be easy but I think a strong candidate with some name recognition could have what it takes to at least scare Bell into recognizing that his district is moderating. I think if someone (like you) were to effectively articulate the transportation problem they would make HUGE gains especially in Northern and Eastern Albemarle. If the entire race is focused on transportation I think that will also keep Greene’s numbers down. I have heard stories of people sitting in stop and go traffic on 29 North and it taking them 30-40 minutes to get to Ruckersville. I had to make sure we were talking about Charlottesville and not NOVA because it sounded so ridiculous. I think this also applies to Fluvanna and the Orange portion of the 58th. Have you ever traveled to that end of the area during rush hour? Well after getting through the traffic to get on Pantops that is usually backed up from Free Bridge to Park Street you have to go through several stop lights on 250 (the new 29 North) after that traffic is pretty thick all the way up to Shadwell. In the mornings things are worse I am told by my grandmother who lives in Cismont. Traffic is stop and go from Shadwell all the way into town. She has lived out there for 20 years now and she says she has never seen traffic this bad.

    Considering that Albemarle casts around 60% of the votes in this district I think the Democrats need to take a look at investing in this race. This is especially true if they are serious about making huge gains in the right-wing House of Delegates.

  • Have you ever traveled to that end of the area during rush hour? Well after getting through the traffic to get on Pantops that is usually backed up from Free Bridge to Park Street you have to go through several stop lights on 250 (the new 29 North) after that traffic is pretty thick all the way up to Shadwell. In the mornings things are worse I am told by my grandmother who lives in Cismont.

    I live in the Cash’s Corner area, about 5 minutes north of Cismont — and, yes, it’s a bad situation. As I wrote in March, it’s not clear what solution that there is, particularly given the portion of the heavy traffic that’s within more densely-developed areas.

    Considering that Albemarle casts around 60% of the votes in this district I think the Democrats need to take a look at investing in this race.

    You’re quite right — I think that this race can only be won by a Democrat by chalking up big numbers in Albemarle.

    You might remember that we discussed the 58th situation in March after I looked over the demographics of Greene. Though my blog entry there is a reasonable start, it’s the discussion (including your comments) that are most informative. I haven’t crunched the numbers on the 58th after the last election, but I really should.

    It’s well worth pointing out that I think that incumbents should always have challengers. And I mean that as surely about Sen. Creigh Deeds and Del. David Toscano as I do Del. Rob Bell. It often takes a couple-few tries before somebody manages to unseat the incumbent. It takes hearty souls like Steve Koleszar to run knowing full well that they’ll lose before somebody actually has a shot.

  • “It takes hearty souls like Steve Koleszar to run knowing full well that they’ll lose before somebody actually has a shot.”

    You are right. I have seen him a couple of times and he is probably one of the nicest people I have met. The worst part about it all is that he probably would do a great job at representing the 58th. He didn’t strike me as the partisan type and I admire anyone who does anything to try to improve education.

    I looked at the numbers from 05 and based on rough estimates I would probably say in order for a Democrat to win they would have to rack up numbers in the high 50s in Albemarle, keep Fluvanna and Orange from going over 60%, and try to keep Greene reasonable. By “reasonable” in Greene I mean somewhere around 65% Republican. Very tough to say the least but possible.

  • “How long will they be in the wilderness after they’re done screwing it up this time around?”

    Not long enough.

    The social wedge issues are starting to lose traction in the growing parts of the state, at the same time those regions are recognizing the need for public infrastructure – Commonwealth. This “no taxes ever for anything” approach of the house will be the end of this crowd.

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