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STAMP-2025: Sensible Alternatives to the Meadow Creek Parkway
Thursday, 7 September 2006
FHWA responds to inquiry concerning project segmentation
Topic: Project Funding
Below is a copy of a letter from FHWA addressing concerns about project segmentation. I do not agree with parts of the analysis provided by FHWA and plan to respond to FHWA (and here) outlining these points. But, to provide information in a timely manner, I have posted the letter without comment at this time.


U S Department
of Transportation


Federal Highway
Administration

Virginia Division
(804)775-3320

 

August 31,2006

P.O. Box 10249
400 N. 8th Street Rm. 750
Richmond, Virginia 23240

 

IN REPLY REFER To:

Route 250 Bypass/McIntire
Road Interchange;
Charlottesville, Virginia

Mr. Peter Kleeman, Ph.D.
407 Hedge Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902

Dear Mr. Kleeman:

We are in receipt of your letter dated June 26, 2006, concerning the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project being developed by the City of Charlottesville. In your letter, you raised questions about the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project proceeding independently of one another in light of recent funding decisions made by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in developing Virginia's Transportation Six-Year Improvement Program (Six-Year Program). You also cited FHWA's response dated April 4, 2005, to your previous inquiry, concluding that because the "criteria" addressed in that letter are no longer satisfied, the Route 250 Bypass/'McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project should be considered one integrated project.

In his recent conversation with you by telephone, Mr. Ken Myers mentioned that funding in the Six-Year Program was one way (and the simplest way) of demonstrating that the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project are independent of one another. However, it is far from being the only way. By virtue of its inclusion in the United Jefferson Area Mobility Plan 2025 for construction, the Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) for the region, the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project is considered a committed project. When FHWA prepares a NEPA document, the no-build alternative is defined as all committed projects from the CLRP (i.e. those projects funded for construction) minus the project being subjected to NEPA. The Six-Year Program plays no role in defining the no-build alternative, and it has no standing with respect to FHWA's metropolitan or statewide planning requirements; instead, it is the CLRP that is the controlling document for determining whether or not a project is considered committed.

In addition, just because two related projects appear in the same funding document such as the Six-Year Program, this funding document does not dictate the scope of the project being analyzed for purposes of NEPA. In fact, when FHWA completes an environmental document in air quality attainment areas like Charlottesville, there is no regulatory requirement that the project be funded for any subsequent phases in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), CLRP, or Statewide TIP. Therefore, whether projects are funded for any phase beyond NEPA does not dictate the scope of a project for purposes of NEPA analysis in air quality attainment areas. Further, it is impractical to allow funding to play any role in the development of the scope of a project for purposes of NEPA analysis when those funding decisions can change annually. If we were to react to the CTB's decision to remove construction funding for the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project from the Six-Year Program by combining the Route 250 Bypass/Mclntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project into a single project for purposes of NEPA analysis, it logically follows that if the CTB were to put funding back into the Six-Year Program during the next allocation cycle, we would then have cause to separate the two projects again.

Neither does NEPA dictate the sequence in which projects are to be constructed. Even though we maintain our position that the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project remains a committed project by virtue of its inclusion in the CLRP, nothing requires VDOT to construct it in advance of the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project. Notwithstanding, based on recent discussions with VDOT and the City of Charlottesville, it is their intent to advertise and construct both the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project and the Route 250 Bypass/Mclntire Road Interchange project at the same time to minimize disruption to the adjacent communities and the traveling public. Therefore, while funding to construct the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project is not currently included in the Six-Year Program, VDOT and the City are working to put the funding back into the Six-Year Program to complete the project on a timetable consistent with the schedule for the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project.

In your letter you also made a couple of references to segmentation implying that FHWA, in proceeding with the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project as a separate project in light of recent funding decisions by the CTB, is segmenting the interchange project from the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project. Segmentation occurs when a federal agency artificially divides a larger project into smaller projects with the intent of evading NEPA requirements such as the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. When the McIntire Road Extended project was developed in the early 1990s, it was developed with an at-grade intersection at the Route 250 Bypass demonstrating that the interchange was not needed for the extension to function properly in the design year of the extension. When FHWA issued a FONSI for the McIntire Road Extended project in 1995 before VDOT made a decision to fund the project with state funds, an interchange was not included as part of the improvement. Therefore, FHWA never segmented a larger project (i.e. the McIntire Road Extended project) by removing the interchange. It was only recently that an interchange project using federal funds was initiated, approximatdy 10 years after the FONSI for McIntire Road Extended was issued. In contrast, the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project is currently in the right-of-way acquisition/utility relocation phase. Besides, if FHWA were to add the Route 250 Bypass interchange to the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project, FHWA would merely re-evaluate the Environmental Assessment/FONSI that was already completed for the McIntire Road Extended project before it was de-federalized; we would not re-initiate the NEPA process all over again.

The principal issue here is whether a group of related actions constitute a single federal action for purposes of NEPA. While the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project is not considered a federal action that FHWA has jurisdiction over, FHWA has developed its own guidelines to follow when determining if segmentation is an issue related to a particular project, which takes into account court decisions on the matter. These guidelines, which are found in the 1993 paper titled Guidance on the Development of Logical Project Termini, address the concept of logical termini and independent utility. The concepts of logical termini and independent utility are closely tied to the purpose and need of a project. A review of the purpose and need for the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project demonstrates that it is fundamentally different than the purpose and need that is being developed for the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project. If FHWA were to determine that the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project was integral to whether or not the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project satisfied its purpose and need, then there would be cause to consider the two projects in a single NEPA document. However, the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project will serve its purpose and need whether or not the interchange is constructed. Accordingly, FHWA has determined that the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project each have independent utility and the development of the former does not federalize the later.

In conclusion, FHWA has considered your concerns and not found cause to consider the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project as a single project subject to NEPA. In other words, the development of the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project does not federalize the non-federally funded McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project. The funding decisions made by the CTB do not dictate the scope of a project being analyzed for purposes of NEPA, and projects included in a CLRP for construction are considered committed projects by FHWA. Finally, both the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project and the McIntire Road Extended/Meadow Creek Parkway project have independent utility and will serve a purpose even if the other improvement isn't implemented. We hope you find this information and explanation helpful. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact me at (804) 775-3338.

      Sincerely,

      Roberto Fonseca Martinez
      Division Administrator

      Signature: Edward Sundra

By: Edward Sundra
      Environmental Specialist, Sr.


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 10:37 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006 11:07 AM EDT
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Monday, 17 July 2006
Steering Committee Meeting #7 Agenda posted
Topic: Steering Committee
The agenda for the upcoming Route 250 Bypass / McIntire Road Interchange Steering Committee Meeting has just been posted (July 17, 2006) on the project website. The meeting is scheduled from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday July 27, 2006 at the Downtown Visitor's Center.

Note that there is a time scheduled at the end of the agenda for input from the public. Do not hesitate to comment on any aspect of the project development of interest to you.

Check the project website for project background, maps, proposed designs, and other project related material.


ROUTE 250 BYPASS INTERCHANGE At McIntire Road STEERING COMMITTEE

Meeting Agenda No. 7 July 27, 2006
Downtown Visitors Center

11:30 AM Welcome
11:40 AM Summary of Recent Project Team/Agency Meetings
..... Traffic Summit (VDOT/TJPDC)
..... Environmental Coordination (VDOT/FHWA)
11:50 AM Summary of June 14 Citizen Informational Meeting
12:20 PM Review Preliminary Project Team Recommendation of the Interchange Alternatives
12:40 PM Steering Committee Discussion on Preliminary Alternatives and Citizen Informational Meeting Comments
1:10 PM Next Steps
1:15 PM Public Input
1:30 PM Adjourn


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 8:29 PM EDT
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Friday, 30 June 2006
Combining Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange with Meadow Creek Parkway and McIntire Road Extended projects
Topic: Project Funding

Due to lack of funding in the Virginia FY07-12 Six-Year Improvement Program, it appears that the interchange project, the Meadow Creek Parkway, and the McIntire Road Extended projects should be combined into one project - if any of these projects are to receive Federal-aid Highway funds. Below is a letter sent to FHWA outlining the rationale for a request for combining these projects.
June 26, 2006

Mr. Kenneth Myers
Planning and Environment Team Leader
FHWA Virginia Division
400 North 8th Street
Richmond Virginia 23240
Dear Mr. Myers:

I reviewed your response to my April 4, 2005 inquiry (attached) concerning developing the Route 250 Bypass/ McIntire Road Interchange project independent of the Meadow Creek Parkway and McIntire Road Extended projects in light of recent decisions on transportation funding by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Your response indicated that the federally funded Route 250 Bypass/ McIntire Road Interchange project would not federalize the Meadow Creek Parkway or McIntire Road Extended projects on the basis of those being fully funded in Virginia’s Six-Year Improvement Program and on that basis being considered a committed project. But now, neither of these two projects satisfies this criterion. It now appears inappropriate for the interchange to be an independent Federal-aid Highway project. I recommend that you re-coordinate these projects with VDOT as a single project if in fact federal funds are to be used in preliminary engineering, right-of-way acquisition, or construction of the interchange portion of this project.

The current FY 07-12 Six-Year Improvement Program provides no funding for either the Meadow Creek Parkway or the McIntire Road Extended project. Based on your criteria, it is clear that these two projects cannot be considered approved elements in the evaluation of future improvements. There is no commitment by the Commonwealth of Virginia to construct either the Meadow Creek Parkway or McIntire Road Extended. The current situation with only the interchange being developed as a Federal-aid Highway project appears not to be in compliance with established federal regulations and guidance on project segmentation.

Based on this lack of financial commitment by the Commonwealth of Virginia, it appears essential that the Route 250 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project, the Meadow Creek Parkway project, and the McIntire Road Extended project all be considered as one integrated project with logical termini located at Rio Road to the north, and U.S. Route 250 Bypass to the south. I believe that this combination of projects should be re-coordinated immediately with VDOT and the City of Charlottesville prior to further development of any of the project elements. The purpose and need for the combined project should also be reconsidered to reflect the regional need to meet projected traffic demand between growth areas in Albemarle County north and east of downtown Charlottesville. This combined project and the recently proposed Eastern Connector project should be considered alternatives for meeting this demand.

I look forward to hearing from you concerning this request to ensure that these projects are developed consistent with Federal-aid Highway program requirements, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and section 4(f) parkland protections for McIntire Park.

Sincerely,

signature: Peter Kleeman

Peter Kleeman

From: Myers, Kenneth [Kenneth.Myers@fhwa.dot.gov]
To: Peter T. Kleeman (E-mail) [techniquest@netscape.net]
Cc: Fonseca, Roberto [Roberto.Fonseca@fhwa.dot.gov]
Sent: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 13:10:19 -0400
Subject: RE: Designating Localities as Lead Agency for NEPA documentation

Mr. Kleeman:

Your inquiry of April 4 has been forwarded to me for response. We have reviewed the project status and coordinated with VDOT in preparing the attached response to address your two concerns.

Sincerely,

Kenneth R. Myers
Planning & Environmental Program Manager
FHWA, Virginia Division
(804) 775-3353
Kenneth.Myers@fhwa.dot.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter T. Kleeman [mailto:techniquest@netscape.net]
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 10:37 AM
To: Fonseca, Roberto; philip.shucet@vdot.virginia.gov
Subject: Designating Localities as Lead Agency for NEPA documentation

Dear Sirs:

I have reviewed the "Agreement for Project Development and Administration by the City of Charlottesville Route 250 Bypass Interchange Project" and am concerned that the City of Charlottesville will apparently be acting as the lead agency in development of the NEPA document necessary for this project. I reviewed what appear to be the relevant sections of NEPA (Section 102) and 23 CFR 771 and believe that it is not legitimate for the City to be the lead agency for NEPA development. I am also concerned that the City of Charlottesville does not have the expertise in NEPA document development and related requirements including Section 4(f) analysis essential for this Federal-aid Highway project.

I also am concerned about treating the interchange and the portion of the Meadow Creek Parkway project through the McIntire Park (a section 4(f) protected property) as separate project with the NEPA document only considering the interchange. It is my understanding that Federal Court rulings have maintained that projects of this type cannot be segmented, but rather considered in one environmental document so that the full environmental impacts of the project are provided to the public for consideration.

I would very much like to receive from you justification for allowing the City of Charlottesville to be the lead agency for development of a NEPA document on any Federal-aid Highway project, and secondly, how the segmentation of this project is not in violation of Federal Court rulings against segmentation.

Sincerely,

Peter T. Kleeman

Response to Kleeman Inquiry

One of the concerns was that the project agreement between VDOT and the City of Charlottesville would have the City acting as lead agency under NEPA. This is a misunderstanding of the contract language. We have reviewed the language in the proposed, yet unexecuted, agreement and it in no way suggests that Charlottesville would act as lead agency. FHWA will act a lead agency for NEPA, and VDOT will retain appropriate NEPA oversight of the project as a responsible statewide agency. The agreement would allow the City to administer the project, a common arrangement that is utilized in many States.

In response to the second part of the inquiry, VDOT and FHWA have reviewed the status of the Meadowcreek Parkway and the U.S. 250 interchange at McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The purpose of this review was to determine if the new federally funded U.S. 250 interchange study would federalize the Meadowcreek Parkway. Our conclusion is that it would not, based on the following:

1) Proposed projects with location approvals and funding commitments may serve as logical termini for other projects that are being considered in the planning, feasibility or early preliminary engineering phases.

2) The Meadowcreek Parkway is a state funded project that has a location approval and is fully funded in the Working Draft FY06-11 SYIP. Right of Way is scheduled to begin in December this year, and construction is scheduled to begin in FY08.

3) The funded Meadowcreek Parkway project includes an at-grade intersection at the 250 Bypass.

4) Based on above items 1-3, it is appropriate to consider the Meadowcreek Parkway as an approved element of the transportation system in the evaluation of future improvements.

5) The Department is pursuing a separate project that will evaluate the construction of an interchange at the 250 Bypass, the existing at-grade intersection with McIntire Road and the terminus of the approved location Meadowcreek Parkway. This project was a new project in the current (FY05-10) program. The project was funded for PE only ($1.25M). There are no additional funds allocated to this project in the Working Draft FY06-11 SYIP (over the next 6 years).

6) When determining if the 250 Interchange has independent utility, we must determine if it is a useable and reasonable expenditure if no additional transportation improvements in the area are made. Since the Meadowcreek Parkway will be constructed regardless of whether the interchange moves forward, the interchange is an independent project.

7) Therefore, the federal action is limited to the federal-aid interchange and federal involvement with the interchange does not federalize the Meadowcreek Parkway.


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 11:33 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Phase I Contract Agreement Approved by City
Topic: Contracts

RK&K Engineers and the City of Charlottesville have agreed to terms for Phase I of the Route 250 Bypass / McIntire Road Interchange project. The necessary approvals occurred in late March about the same time as the March Citizen Information Meeting was held. To view the tasks, schedule, and deliverables associated with this contract visit Phase I Contract. The tasks to be done by RK&K and all of the sub-consultants are included in one document. If your interested in how the $1.5 million is to be spent, check it out.

I believe some of the described limitations on project development are not in compliance with FHWA regulations (public involvement in development of purpose and need) and NEPA regulations (consideration of all reasonable alternatives). I plan to address these and other concerns in future postings to this blog, and in letters to FHWA, VDOT, and the City of Charlottesville.


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 11:55 AM EDT
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Friday, 31 March 2006
Code of Virginia relating to the Vietnam Memorial
Topic: Code of Virginia

The public information meeting on the Route 29 Bypass/McIntire Road Interchange project provided graphics of the footprints of several possible interchange designs. Interestingly, the ramps associated with these would have significant impact on the existing Vietnam War Memorial in McIntire Park. Below are relevant sections of the Code of Virginia to impacting memorials of this type. I believe it is essential that the study team and steering committee explicitly consider the implications of these impacts and provide the public with how they intend to consider this memorial in all future planning activities.


? 15.2-1812. Memorials for war veterans.

A locality may, within the geographical limits of the locality, authorize and permit the erection of monuments or memorials for any war or conflict, or for any engagement of such war or conflict, to include the following monuments or memorials: Algonquin (1622), French and Indian (1754-1763), Revolutionary (1775-1783), War of 1812 (1812-1815), Mexican (1846-1848), Confederate or Union monuments or memorials of the War Between the States (1861-1865), Spanish-American (1898), World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), Korean (1950-1953), Vietnam (1965-1973), Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm (1990-1991), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003). If such are erected, it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, "disturb or interfere with" includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.

The governing body may appropriate a sufficient sum of money out of its funds to complete or aid in the erection of monuments or memorials to the veterans of such wars. The governing body may also make a special levy to raise the money necessary for the erection or completion of any such monuments or memorials, or to supplement the funds already raised or that may be raised by private persons, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion or other organizations. It may also appropriate, out of any funds of such locality, a sufficient sum of money to permanently care for, protect and preserve such monuments or memorials and may expend the same thereafter as other funds are expended.

(Code 1950, ? 15-696; 1962, c. 623, ? 15.1-270; 1982, c. 19; 1988, c. 284; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 752; 2005, c. 390.)

? 15.2-1812.1. Action for damage to memorials for war veterans.

A. If any monument, marker or memorial for war veterans as designated in ?? 15.2-1812 and 18.2-137 is violated or encroached upon, an action for the recovery of damages may be commenced by the following:

1. For a publicly owned monument, marker or memorial, by the attorney for the locality in which it is located; or, if no such action has commenced within sixty days following any such violation or encroachment, by any person having an interest in the matter; and

2. For a privately owned monument, marker or memorial, by the private organization, society or museum that owns it or any member of such organization, society or museum. Damages may be awarded in such amounts as necessary for the purposes of rebuilding, repairing, preserving and restoring such memorials or monuments to preencroachment condition. Damages other than those litigation costs recovered from any such action shall be used exclusively for said purposes.

B. Punitive damages may be recovered for reckless, willful or wanton conduct resulting in the defacement of, malicious destruction of, unlawful removal of, or placement of improper markings, monuments or statues on memorials for war veterans.

C. The party who initiates and prevails in an action authorized by this section shall be entitled to an award of the cost of the litigation, including reasonable attorney's fees. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the rights of any person, organization, society, or museum to pursue any additional civil remedy otherwise allowed by law.

(2000, c. 812.)


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 12:16 PM EST
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Wednesday, 15 March 2006
Citizen Informational Meeting Announced
Topic: Public Involvement

Here is the announcement for the March 23, 2006 citizen information meeting on the Route 250 Bypass / McIntire Road Intersection project. Please attend to comment, or write your comments on this project as indicated in the announcement.
CITIZEN INFORMATIONAL MEETING
Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road
VDOT Project No. 0250-104-103, PE-101
STP-5104 (158)

Senior Center, Inc.
1180 Pepsi Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901
Thursday, March 23, 2006
4:00 PM to 7:30 PM

The City of Charlottesville announces a Citizen Informational Meeting, open forum format, for the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road. The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2006 from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM at the Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place.

Meeting attendees are invited to provide the City with their comments and input on the proposed project. The purpose of the meeting is to present project background information, including key themes for the Draft Purpose and Need, Draft Goals and Objectives, Area Resources, and Preliminary Interchange Concepts for the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road. Members of the Project Team will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your input.

Interested persons are invited to express their views in writing, giving reasons for support of, or opposition to, the proposed project. Comments will be received during the meeting or can be mailed (postmarked by April 3, 2006) to City of Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services, PO Box 911, Charlottesville Virginia 22902. For additional project information visit www.250interchange.org.

The above meeting location is accessible to persons having disabilities. Any person having special needs or requiring special aid, such as an interpreter for the hearing impaired, is requested to contact the City of Charlottesville one week in advance.

PUBLIC NOTICE


NOTE: This notice appeared in the Sunday March 12, 2006 edition of the Daily Progress as a legal notice in the classified advertisment section.
posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 7:57 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006 10:24 AM EST
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Tuesday, 7 March 2006
Response to Public Involvement Inquiry
Topic: Public Involvement

Here is the response to my February 22, 2006 Inquiry
To: Peter Kleeman
From: Angela Tucker
Date: March 6, 2006
Reference: Route 250 Interchange Project; Public Participation; Purpose and Need; Alternative Selection

Peter:

Thank you for your e-mail of February 22, 2006 regarding: 1.) public involvement in Steering Committee meetings, 2.) the project Purpose and Need document, and 3.)compliance with current federal project development requirements.

As you know, the Steering Committee’s current position is that the public will be provided an opportunity to comment on Steering Committee meeting agenda items, at the end of each meeting, time permitting. Be assured, we will always attempt to have time available for public comments. As noted at the March 2, 2006 Steering Committee meeting, the matter of public involvement in the Steering committee meetings will be discussed at the next Steering Committee meeting, tentatively scheduled for April 20, 2006.

At the second Steering Committee meeting on January 11, 2006, we had intended to divide the Steering Committee into two groups to review the preliminary interchange concepts. We also intended to have a third group for public attendees. Each of the three groups was to include Project Team members to facilitate the discussions. It was anticipated that each group would summarize and report their comments back to the full Steering Committee. However, time did not permit this approach and you were invited to join with the Steering Committee in providing comments. In the future, when reviewing alternatives, we intend to follow this format and will provide a separate work table for the public, facilitated by members of the Project Team, to review and comment on the range of interchange alternatives, and the detailed interchange alternatives/ recommended interchange alternative.

The role of the Steering Committee is noted on slides 11 to 14 of the November 3, 2005 meeting presentation and slides 4 to 7 of the January 11, 2006 meeting presentation, all of which are included on the project website. A major component of that role is to assist the Project Team in facilitating and enhancing the public involvement effort. It is clear that the public involvement process, including the public workshops, meetings with those most directly affected by the project, the project website, etc. will significantly benefit from Steering Committee input. The material to be presented at the initial Citizen Informational Meeting has been enhanced thanks to the efforts of the Steering Committee members at last week’s meeting. We have encouraged the Steering Committee members to attend and be involved in the Citizen Informational Meetings and to experience first hand, public comments and recommendations.

The Steering Committee is free to reach a consensus and make recommendations on various aspects of the project, should they choose to do so. If they choose to make comments or recommendations about the project, we will advise the public of these comments. However, project decisions are NOT the responsibility of the Steering Committee, but rest with the City of Charlottesville, VDOT and FHWA. Informed project decisions will consider public input, along with that of the Project Team, Steering Committee and the Environmental Resource and Regulatory Agencies.

The Project Team is in compliance with current federal statutes and regulations. In fact, we will exceed those requirements by conducting public meetings at each key milestone of the project development process. We are currently in the phase of the project that involves collecting pertinent information and data, preparing for our initial public meeting and developing key themes for the draft Purpose and Need, and project Goals and Objectives, along with the starting point for preliminary Interchange Concepts. The key themes of the draft Purpose and Need are noted in the Steering Committee meetings information, included on the project website. You are welcome to provide comments on those themes, at your convenience.

The initial kick-off Citizen Informational Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2006 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. Citizen Informational Meeting #1 will include the presentation of the following types of information for discussion with and comments from the public:

* Purpose of Citizen Informational Meeting #1
* Draft Purpose & Need – Key Themes
* Draft Goals & Objectives
* Environmental Coordination Process
* Public Involvement Initiatives
* Initial Environmental Inventory
* Traffic Analysis/Travel Demand Modeling/Long Range Plan
* Context Sensitive Urban Design
* Project Design Challenges
* Interchange Concepts – Starting Point – October 2000 Report
* Refined Preliminary Interchange Concepts – 2006
* Project Schedule/Next Steps

The draft Citizen Informational Meeting #1 material was reviewed with the Steering Committee at the March 2, 2006 meeting. You were provided with a copy of that material, as were the other members of the public in attendance. The material has also been placed on the project web site and will be available for public comment until Thursday, March 9, 2006. The material will then be refined, placed on the project website and presented at the March 23, 2006 Citizen Informational Meeting. The notice for Citizen Informational Meeting #1 will indicate the availability of meeting material. Based on the comments we receive at the initial Citizen Informational Meeting on these and others items, the Project Team will develop a draft project Purpose and Need statement which will be placed on the project web site for public comments and also made available to the environmental resource and regulatory agencies and to the Steering Committee for comments.

The draft Purpose and Need will also be presented at the Citizen Informational Meeting #2, along with a potential range of Interchange alternatives. The Purpose and Need will be a living document, and it will be refined as appropriate through the project development/ NEPA process. Following Citizen Informational Meeting #2, the Project Team will meet with the environmental resource agencies to review the draft Purpose and Need, the potential range of alternatives and the methodologies and level of detail required in the evaluation of each alternative. Following the meeting with the resource agencies, the Range of Interchange Alternatives to be evaluated in detail will be determined. This Range of Interchange Alternatives will be evaluated over the summer and presented at Citizen Informational Meeting #3 in the fall. This detailed evaluation of Interchange Alternatives will be included in the draft environmental document, which may include a preferred alternative.

Thank you for your comments. We look forward to meeting with the public on March 23rd to present, discuss and receive their comments on the initial project information.

Cc:
All Steering Committee Members
All Project Team Members


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 4:27 PM EST
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Response to Public Involvement Inquiry
Topic: Public Involvement

Here is the response to my February 22, 2006 Inquiry
To: Peter Kleeman
From: Angela Tucker
Date: March 6, 2006
Reference: Route 250 Interchange Project; Public Participation; Purpose and Need; Alternative Selection

Peter:

Thank you for your e-mail of February 22, 2006 regarding: 1.) public involvement in Steering Committee meetings, 2.) the project Purpose and Need document, and 3.)compliance with current federal project development requirements.

As you know, the Steering Committee’s current position is that the public will be provided an opportunity to comment on Steering Committee meeting agenda items, at the end of each meeting, time permitting. Be assured, we will always attempt to have time available for public comments. As noted at the March 2, 2006 Steering Committee meeting, the matter of public involvement in the Steering committee meetings will be discussed at the next Steering Committee meeting, tentatively scheduled for April 20, 2006.

At the second Steering Committee meeting on January 11, 2006, we had intended to divide the Steering Committee into two groups to review the preliminary interchange concepts. We also intended to have a third group for public attendees. Each of the three groups was to include Project Team members to facilitate the discussions. It was anticipated that each group would summarize and report their comments back to the full Steering Committee. However, time did not permit this approach and you were invited to join with the Steering Committee in providing comments. In the future, when reviewing alternatives, we intend to follow this format and will provide a separate work table for the public, facilitated by members of the Project Team, to review and comment on the range of interchange alternatives, and the detailed interchange alternatives/ recommended interchange alternative.

The role of the Steering Committee is noted on slides 11 to 14 of the November 3, 2005 meeting presentation and slides 4 to 7 of the January 11, 2006 meeting presentation, all of which are included on the project website. A major component of that role is to assist the Project Team in facilitating and enhancing the public involvement effort. It is clear that the public involvement process, including the public workshops, meetings with those most directly affected by the project, the project website, etc. will significantly benefit from Steering Committee input. The material to be presented at the initial Citizen Informational Meeting has been enhanced thanks to the efforts of the Steering Committee members at last week’s meeting. We have encouraged the Steering Committee members to attend and be involved in the Citizen Informational Meetings and to experience first hand, public comments and recommendations.

The Steering Committee is free to reach a consensus and make recommendations on various aspects of the project, should they choose to do so. If they choose to make comments or recommendations about the project, we will advise the public of these comments. However, project decisions are NOT the responsibility of the Steering Committee, but rest with the City of Charlottesville, VDOT and FHWA. Informed project decisions will consider public input, along with that of the Project Team, Steering Committee and the Environmental Resource and Regulatory Agencies.

The Project Team is in compliance with current federal statutes and regulations. In fact, we will exceed those requirements by conducting public meetings at each key milestone of the project development process. We are currently in the phase of the project that involves collecting pertinent information and data, preparing for our initial public meeting and developing key themes for the draft Purpose and Need, and project Goals and Objectives, along with the starting point for preliminary Interchange Concepts. The key themes of the draft Purpose and Need are noted in the Steering Committee meetings information, included on the project website. You are welcome to provide comments on those themes, at your convenience.

The initial kick-off Citizen Informational Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2006 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. Citizen Informational Meeting #1 will include the presentation of the following types of information for discussion with and comments from the public:

* Purpose of Citizen Informational Meeting #1
* Draft Purpose & Need – Key Themes
* Draft Goals & Objectives
* Environmental Coordination Process
* Public Involvement Initiatives
* Initial Environmental Inventory
* Traffic Analysis/Travel Demand Modeling/Long Range Plan
* Context Sensitive Urban Design
* Project Design Challenges
* Interchange Concepts – Starting Point – October 2000 Report
* Refined Preliminary Interchange Concepts – 2006
* Project Schedule/Next Steps

The draft Citizen Informational Meeting #1 material was reviewed with the Steering Committee at the March 2, 2006 meeting. You were provided with a copy of that material, as were the other members of the public in attendance. The material has also been placed on the project web site and will be available for public comment until Thursday, March 9, 2006. The material will then be refined, placed on the project website and presented at the March 23, 2006 Citizen Informational Meeting. The notice for Citizen Informational Meeting #1 will indicate the availability of meeting material. Based on the comments we receive at the initial Citizen Informational Meeting on these and others items, the Project Team will develop a draft project Purpose and Need statement which will be placed on the project web site for public comments and also made available to the environmental resource and regulatory agencies and to the Steering Committee for comments.

The draft Purpose and Need will also be presented at the Citizen Informational Meeting #2, along with a potential range of Interchange alternatives. The Purpose and Need will be a living document, and it will be refined as appropriate through the project development/ NEPA process. Following Citizen Informational Meeting #2, the Project Team will meet with the environmental resource agencies to review the draft Purpose and Need, the potential range of alternatives and the methodologies and level of detail required in the evaluation of each alternative. Following the meeting with the resource agencies, the Range of Interchange Alternatives to be evaluated in detail will be determined. This Range of Interchange Alternatives will be evaluated over the summer and presented at Citizen Informational Meeting #3 in the fall. This detailed evaluation of Interchange Alternatives will be included in the draft environmental document, which may include a preferred alternative.

Thank you for your comments. We look forward to meeting with the public on March 23rd to present, discuss and receive their comments on the initial project information.

Cc:
All Steering Committee Members
All Project Team Members


posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 4:25 PM EST
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Public Involvement in Project Development
Topic: Public Involvement

Here is an inquiry sent to the Route 250 Bypass / McIntire Road Steering Committee chair concerning the lack of opportunity for the public to participate in the development of project Purpose and Need or selection of alternatives for consideration as required.
From: Peter T. Kleeman
To: Angela Tucker; Owen Peery
Cc: Ivan Rucker (FHWA)
Sent: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 16:39:42
Subject: Route 250 Interchange Project: Public Participation; Purpose and Need; Alternative Selection

Angela Tucker, City of Charlottesville project manager
Owen Peery, RK&K Engineers project manager

The Route 250 Interchange Steering Committee does not include any opportunity for input from the public, which appears to be not in compliance with Federal Highway Statues. I am bringing this concern to you and to our local FHWA Community Planner, Ivan Rucker, for your consideration along with another request that the Steering Committee agendas be revised to include opportunities to participate particularly when discussion on purpose and need, and study alternatives are being addressed. I am providing you material I believe is particularly appropriate for your consideration now as these items have already been addressed at committee meetings without Federally required public participation opportunities. The material provided below is from the Highway section of the United States Code (23USC139) that was just enacted into law in the SAFETEA-LU legislation in section 6002 of that act.

The specific section of the US Code of interest here is entitled: Sec. 139: Efficient environmental reviews for project decisionmaking. In this code section the requirement that the public be invited to participate in development of the purpose and need statement, and determination of the range of alternatives to be considered in the environmental review. By not allowing public participation in these discussions I believe you are not in compliance with this section of the US Code.

I have included below the text of 23USC139 Subsection (f) that directly addresses the need for public involvement in the currently ongoing activities of the steering committee that are - in spite of my several requests - being denied.

I have copied this email to Ivan Rucker so that he too will be aware of my concern that current activities being carried out by the City of Charlottesville in its role as a lead agency in this Federal-aid Highway project appear not to not be in compliance with current Federal law.

I look forward to discussing this matter with you further and request that a partial solution to this apparent non-compliance would be to include opportunities for matters from the public on all upcoming committee agendas. In addition, I recommend that interested members of the public be provided opportunities to participate in purpose and need discussions and discussions on selection of project alternatives when those items are the order of business of the committee or any subcommittees that may be formed for these purposes in the future.

Sincerely, Peter Kleeman


23USC139
...
(f) Purpose and Need.--
(1) Participation.--As early as practicable during the environmental review process, the lead agency shall provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public in defining the purpose and need for a project.
(2) Definition.--Following participation under paragraph (1), the lead agency shall define the project's purpose and need for purposes of any document which the lead agency is responsible for preparing for the project.
(3) Objectives.--The statement of purpose and need shall include a clear statement of the objectives that the proposed action is intended to achieve, which may include--
(A) achieving a transportation objective identified in an applicable statewide or metropolitan transportation plan;
(B) supporting land use, economic development, or growth objectives established in applicable Federal, State, local, or tribal plans; and
(C) serving national defense, national security, or other national objectives, as established in Federal laws, plans, or policies.
(4) Alternatives analysis.--
(A) Participation.--As early as practicable during the environmental review process, the lead agency shall provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public in determining the range of alternatives to be considered for a project.
(B) Range of alternatives.--Following participation under paragraph
(1), the lead agency shall determine the range of alternatives for consideration in any document which the lead agency is responsible for preparing for the project.
(C) Methodologies.--The lead agency also shall determine, in collaboration with participating agencies at appropriate times during the study process, the methodologies to be used and the level of detail required in the analysis of each alternative for a project.
(D) Preferred alternative.--At the discretion of the lead agency, the preferred alternative for a project, after being identified, may be developed to a higher level of detail than other alternatives in order to facilitate the development of mitigation measures or concurrent compliance with other applicable laws if the lead agency determines that the development of such higher level of detail will not prevent the lead agency from making an impartial decision as to whether to accept another alternative which is being considered in the environmental review process.
posted by Peter T. Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 4:04 PM EST
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Tuesday, 21 February 2006
SAFETEA-LU Funding
Topic: Project Funding

Here are the sections of the most recent transportation legislation references to funding of the Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange in SAFETEA-LU (PL 109-59). It is interesting to note that the funding is designated for the Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange which is a clear link between this funding and the parkway project.

SEC. 1702. PROJECT AUTHORIZATIONS.

Subject to section 117 of title 23, United States Code, the amount listed for each high priority project in the following table shall be available (from amounts made available by section 1101(a)(16) f this Act) for fiscal years 2005 through 2009 to carry out each such project:

Highway Projects High Priority Projects
------------------------------------------------
No: 5044
State: VA
Project Description: Construct Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange, Charlottesville
Amount: $25,000,000
-------------------------------------------------

SEC. 1934. TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) Authorization of Appropriations.--
(1) In general.--For each of fiscal years 2005 through 2009, there are authorized to be appropriated from the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account) such sums as are necessary to make allocations in accordance with paragraph (2)to carry out each project described in the table contained in
subsection (c), at the amount specified for each such project in that table.
(2) Allocation percentages.--Of the total amount specified for each project described in the table contained in subsection c), 10 percent for fiscal year 2005, 20 percent for fiscal year 2006, 25 percent for fiscal year 2007, 25 percent for fiscal year 2008, and 20 percent for fiscal year 2009 shall be allocated to carry out each such project in that table.

(b) Contract Authority.--
(1) In general.--Funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection shall be available for obligation in the same manner as if the funds were apportioned under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code, except that the funds shallremain available until expended.
(2) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of a project under this section shall be determined in accordance with section 120 of such title.

(c) Table.--The table referred to in subsections (a) and (b) is as follows:

Transportation Improvements
-------------------------------------------------
No: 408
State: VA
Project Description: Construct Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange, Charlottesville
Amount: $2,000,000
-------------------------------------------------


posted by Peter Kleeman - techniquest@netscape.net

Posted by va3/stamp2025 at 6:09 PM EST
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