Regional Transit Vision update

Consultants hired by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission to craft a vision for how public transportation might work better in the Charlottesville area will present more details next Thursday.

The firm AECOM is the lead consultant with Jarrett Walker and Associates serving as a subcontractor. The study may recommend the eventualtransition to a unified regional transit authority. (meeting info)

“There will be a 90 minute presentation from the consultants to go over what we’ve done so far, survey the results of the first round of public engagement, and then also what they found for the vision for the community,” said Lucinda Shannon, a transportation planner for the TJPDC. 

Shannon told a technical committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization that a three-day workshop was held with the transit providers to imagine new bus routes under a new scenario where there is $30 million in annual funding from a new transportation authority. The consultants modeled that scenario after a new authority in the Richmond area that was created in 2020. 

“We looked at the Central Virginia [Transportation] Authority’s model of how they collect revenue to kind of calculate how much we could collect if we formed an authority to pay for the vision,” Shannon said.

Shannon said that for now, the JWA’s work is more about what the vision will be.  A second round of public engagement will take place soon after next week’s partnership meeting. 

Shannon said the firm AECOM may also be hired to conduct a governance study to recommend how to actually come up with that hypothetical $30 million. That work is contingent on approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at their meeting in June. Shannon said this study will be more about the funding than changing the structure of area transit. 

“So it’s not going to be looking at how [Charlottesville Area Transit] or any of the service providers are governed or run or anything like that,” Shannon said. “It’s just bringing in money and putting it out for transit.” 

Funding for these studies come from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The budget for the vision plan is $350,000 and the budget for the governance plan is $150,000.

The project website for the Regional Transit Vision currently has a StoryMap on the project to date. Have you seen it? What do you think? Leave a comment below. (view the StoryMap)

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the May 20, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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