Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission News
Celebrating 50 Years of Regional Service
Regional Commission Through the Years

The Fifth Planning District Commission is officially established on August 25, 1969.

Norman C. Scott, representing the City
of Clifton Forge, is named the first chairman of the Commission.
RVARC assisting with United Way’s Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke Survey
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) staff is assisting the United Way in a fiscal and resource survey to identify existing resources and programs for preschoolers in region. This project is funded by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. The Commission staff is assisting in the distribution and compilation of a survey that is intended to inventory existing resources and programs to provide a snapshot of early childhood educational services currently being utilized in the public and private sectors. The data will also help identify areas where more resources might be needed and how existing resources can be used more efficiently. If your are involved in delivering early childhood education services in the region, we encourage your participation. 

More information can be found at
Action by the General Assembly on the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan
Following much debate, a mechanism to fund improvements on I-81 was not approved by the 2019 General Assembly. The General Assembly set the framework for the process of implementing the I-81 Corridor Plan, which was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in December, but stopped short of a funding source. HB 2718, following various substitutes and conference reports, passed both bodies having only agreed to the following: 

  • Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund - Any revenues deposited in the Fund would be allocated for improvements to the Interstate 81 Corridor. 
  • Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program and Report – the CTB will create a program for allocating annual revenues from the Fund, develop a financing plan and schedule for projects in the I-81 Corridor Plan, and report to the General Assembly annually on the Plan’s progress.
  • Interstate 81 Committee – will advise and recommend to the CTB on progress of the Program and any Plan updates. The voting members of the Committee will be composed of:
  • The Chairs of planning district commissions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, or in the discretion of a Chair, his/her designee, who shall be a current elected official serving on such commission, and 
  • 4 members from the House of Delegates and 3 members of the Senate serving PDCs 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7; and 
  • 3 members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board representing the Bristol, Salem and Staunton highway construction districts. 
  • Ex-officio members on the Committee include the Commissioner of Highways and the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
  • The Committee will provide its report by December 15, 2019 to the Governor and the General Assembly, which will include funding recommendations and project prioritization.

More details about the I-81 Corridor Improvement Fund can be found in House Bill 2718.
Educational Attainment by Metro Area
Recent data released by the US Census Bureau as part of the 2013-2017 American Community Survey shows that the Roanoke Metro area ranks seventh in the state in percentage of people with a college degree. As expected, smaller metro areas with a university, like Charlottesville, Blacksburg/Radford and Harrisonburg manage to edge out the Roanoke Valley. Some of the largest growing areas in the country (measured as percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree) include Asheville, Pittsburgh, and Denver according to the State Science & Technology Institute. There are six metro areas in the country that have large research universities and more than half of the adults have four-year degrees. 
FY 2020 SMART SCALE Analysis
Following the January 2019 Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) Policy Board meeting, a request was made of staff to perform an in-depth analysis of the SMART SCALE program and its impacts on transportation in the region. This was following the January 15th release of the initial FY 2020 SMART SCALE funding scenario. Staff developed this analysis with the intent of: 

  • The overall performance of RVTPO region;
  • The reasons for successes and disappointments; and

  • What are the impacts of leveraging funds;
  • How the Congestion Mitigation factor is calculated; and

  • Differing processes in project selection; 
  • External forces statewide contributing to success and loss in the region; and

  • On the first three rounds of SMART SCALE and developing strategies for continued success. 

The analysis looks at not only the most current FY 2020 round of applications, but the previous two in FY 2017 and FY 2018. 

The analysis will be presented for discussion at the February 28th RVTPO Policy Board meeting. The full analysis can be found at:

Regional Commission Hosts Local Food Stakeholder Meeting
The Regional Commission and LEAP for Local Food partnered to hold a Local Food Stakeholder meeting at the Grandin Co-Lab on January 30th. There, the Regional Commission presented on our progress on local food projects, including coordination of the Food Hub Action Team and the creation of a Regional Local Food Plan. Attendees included many members of the community from nonprofits, agencies, and businesses such as REACH, Roanoke Co-op, Roanoke Community Garden Association, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and others.

For more information on how you can get involved with Local Food activities, including the Local Food Plan, please contact Amanda at
Ongoing Projects
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always working with localities on projects that benefit the region. Some of these projects are listed below.

  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Gravel Trail Mapping for Franklin County
  • Greenway Support
  • Local Food Plan
  • Rural Bikeway Plan
  • Rural Transit Study
  • Summit View Trails Plan
  • Total Action for Progress Economic Impact Analysis
  • Urban Forestry Council
  • Working with local governments, tourism organizations, and the private sector on a promotional campaign for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Working with the regional local foods partners to examine "Food Hub" needs in the region

For more information on ongoing projects contact  Tim Pohlad-Thomas   or visit .