AG McDonnell: We Owe $45M for Stalling Bypass

Lynchburg’s Sen. Steve Newman has been happy to indulge his constituents’ fantasy that the only thing standing between them and vast wealth is Charlottesville building a bypass bypass — a bypass around our existing route 29 bypass. To that end, he recently asked Attorney General Bob McDonnell whether the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has to reimburse VDOT for the money they’ve put into the bypass if the MPO won’t allow the bypass to be built. McDonnell issued an official opinion saying, yes, we’re on the hook for $45.3M, as Jeremy Borden wrote in the Progress yesterday.

Newman hardly needed to ask. After all, McDonnell’s decision was based on a law passed by Martin in 2004 that states explicitly that the MPO will owe that money if it doesn’t allow the bypass to be built. The $300M road would be six miles long, saving just over a minute in travel time. Studies show it would have virtually no impact on traffic or travel time. VDOT has no money to build the road, and has not scheduled any money through 2013, the farthest out that they forecast.

Because I’m a hell of a guy, I’m going to make an offer to the state. I’m willing to assume that $45M in debt from the state. Every penny. Though I’ll want along with it all of the land that VDOT bought with that money in the early and mid 90s. Since they want their money, they’d take that deal. Right?

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