WHEREAS, there is a need to address safety issues and congestion problems on portions of I-81 throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, an eight to 12 lane, tolled truck lane project has been proposed and is under review by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT); and
WHEREAS, elected officials at both the state and local levels, business groups and citizens organizations throughout the I-81 corridor have called for an alternative plan that is less costly, more targeted to specific safety and congesting issues, and more effective at moving goods and people throughout the corridor;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the undersigned hereby supports Reasonable Solutions for I-81: A Six Point Plan for the Future, as outlined below. We call on federal, state and local governments to work cooperatively toward achieving these goals:
- Complete spot improvements to I-81, such as climbing lanes and redesigned exits, which will improve safety and relieve congestion. Data should support the need and type of each improvement, many of which are identified in earlier VDOT studies.
- Use the highway's median where possible for improvements to limit the encroachment of the road on private property and to avoid further impacts on adjacent landowners, communities, farmland, battlefields and tourism.
- Significantly step up law enforcement to greatly improve safety.
- Incorporate meaningful public transit options for both urban and rural areas in road improvement plans. Coordinate with cities, local governments, major employers and universities.
- Pursue implementation of a rail component for a balanced transportation system that would increase options for freight capacity, maintain economic competitiveness and avoid air quality and congestion problems as road use grows.
- Provide funding for land acquisition to mitigate impacts of I-81 on cultural resources in the corridor, most notably battlefields.