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Region Designated an Economic Development District (EDD) by the Economic Development Administration
In January, the U.S. Economic Development Administration designated the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region an Economic Development District (EDD).  This designation enhances our ability to obtain grants from EDA.  A key function of EDDs is to develop, maintain and assist in implementing a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and support local governments in short-term planning activities.

The EDD area will be comprised of the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke; and the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem.

Commenting on EDD designation, Congressman Bob Goodlatte said "The ability to attract new economic development, and with the jobs,  educational opportunities, and innovation, is key to the growth of any community.  This Economic Development District designation is encouraging news for the Roanoke and Alleghany region!  I am pleased that the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission's hard work and perseverance has brought this great opportunity to fruition to help strengthen local economies.  I look forward to seeing how our part of the Commonwealth continues to grow."

Wayne Strickland, Executive Director of the Regional Commission, stated "The Commission recognized the benefits of our region in being designated an EDD. The designation process took several years to complete, but the time and effort put into obtaining EDD status will result in expanding opportunities for funding important economic development projects in the region."
Bikeshare Program Coming to Roanoke
Zagster will be bringing its bikes to Roanoke in the spring of 2017.  RIDE Solutions is working with organizations and sponsors to raise funding for 50 bikes to be placed throughout the City.  Jeremy Holmes, Director of the RIDE Solutions program, said the bikeshare system will rely on sponsorships from local organizations to be successful.  Right now, we are pleased to have Downtown Roanoke Inc.Carilion Clinic, and Garland Properties on board as confirmed sponsors.  Sponsoring a single bike or an entire station can be a great benefit to your business - from the recognition you'll get on the bikes, stations, in the mobile app and on the website, to the great member benefits and discounts you'll be able to offer your employees and customers. Holmes also launched a public survey to receive feedback on how the program will work and how much it will cost riders. Contact Jeremy Holmes at jholmes@rvarc.org if you have any questions about this upcoming program to the area.
Initial SMART SCALE Funding Scenario Released
The "first scenario" SMART SCALE  funding picture for the Salem VDOT District was recently released by the Commonwealth Transportation Board .   In the Salem District, 21 applications (of the 49 submitted) are proposed to receive funding totaling $70.4 million (or 7.3% of the $970 million statewide). Of the 21 projects, 13 were from the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) area (see list below).  These 13 projects in the RVTPO area total $50,956,496.

 
Applicant
 
Project Title
Requested
Funding
GRTC
Smart Way Vehicle Expansion Project
$      618,000
GRTC
Valley Metro's Route 91/92 Vehicle Expansion Project
$   1,700,000
GRTC
GRTC's Automatic Vehicle Locator/Real-Time Project
$  1,604,000
Roanoke City
Franklin Rd. Sidewalk Improvements from 3100 Block to U.S. 220
$   1,116,510
Roanoke City
Hollins Road and Orange Avenue Intersection Improvements
$   3,552,250
Roanoke Co.
Route 419 and Route 221 Adaptive Traffic Control
$       663,457
Roanoke Co.
West Main Street Sidewalk
$      902,699
Roanoke Co.
Plantation Road Bicycle, Pedestrian and Streetscape, Phase II
$   1,752,210
RVTPO
220 Expressway Acceleration Lane Improvement
$  2,020,290
RVTPO
I-81 Southbound Auxiliary Lane between Exit 141 and 140
$14,802,800
RVTPO
I-81 Northbound Auxiliary Lane between Exit 140 and 141
$15,984,100
Salem
Mason Creek Greenway Phase 3 - 419 Multimodal Improvements
$   2,610,310
Salem
Downtown Salem Intersection and Streetscape Improvements
$   3,629,870

Additionally, in the rural areas of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Region, the following three projects are proposed for funding and total $12,616,682.

Applicant
Project Title
Requested
Funding
Franklin Co.
Southway Regional Business Park Project
$3,750,050
Franklin Co.
Safety Improvements to Route 670 and Route 834
$3,940,160
Rocky Mount
Intersection Realignment/Improvement:  U.S. 220 Business/SR 40
$4,926,472
 
Regarding the Staunton VDOT District, there were no SMART SCALE projects submitted from localities in the Alleghany Highlands this year.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will hold public meetings on the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), expected in April, at which time the public may comment on the current SMART SCALE scenario.  The SYIP will be formally adopted in June.
Public Invited to Comment on the Draft FY 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program
A  45-day public comment period on the (Draft) Fiscal Year 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program for the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) is underway.  The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a four-year capital improvements program which lists all regional transportation projects receiving federal funding in the Roanoke Valley TPO region.   Comments may be made by contacting Bryan Hill at 540-343-4417 or bhill@rvarc.org.  Public comment on the Draft TIP will be open until Friday, March 25, 2017.  Additionally, on April 27, 2017, a public hearing will be held by the RVTPO Policy Board to consider adoption of the FY 2018-2021 TIP.
Demographic Update
The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia recently released new 2016 population estimates for  localities in Virginia. The RVARC region added 4,249 people since 2010, which equates to a rather low growth rate of 1.3% over the six years.  Virginia grew by 5.1% for comparison.  Of the 11 metropolitan areas., the Roanoke MSA had the second lowest growth rate at only 1.6%.  The City of Roanoke, County of Roanoke and City of Salem had the highest growth rates in the region, while the other localities remained flat or lost population.
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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2569, Roanoke, VA 24010
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