Regional Commission News September 2018
2018 Regional Leadership Trip – Destination Winston-Salem, NC
The Coalition for Economic Development held its first Regional Leadership Trip in 1997. Since that time, public and private sector leaders have had an opportunity to visit other regions to see how these regions approached various issues of concern or were able to capitalize on opportunities to improve the quality of life for their citizens. Over the last two decades, Roanoke’s leaders have visited places such as Chattanooga, TN; Portland, Maine; Pittsburgh, PA and Greenville, TN. The 2018 Trip will be the 13th in a series of such events.
During the three days, we will have an opportunity to
see how the Winston-Salem area has transitioned from an industrial to a technology economy
as described in the book – From Tobacco to Technology: Reshaping Winston-Salem for the
21st Century.

Download the preliminary Itinerary which includes:
  • A tour of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter
  • Presentations on promoting economic development through regional collaboration
  • A look at the Goler Community Development Corporation
  • A review of the region’s approach to building a skilled workforce, and
  • A look at how Winston-Salem transformed its downtown to a tourism center through promoting arts/culture and entertainment venues.

Please register online by Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions. We hope you make plans now to join us October 28-30 in Winston-Salem!
RIDE Solutions Expands Services with New Partnership in West Piedmont Region
RIDE Solutions is launching a renewed focus on serving commuters and employers in the greater Martinsville and Danville region. Working with the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC), RIDE Solutions will reinvigorate its employer outreach efforts to assist businesses in finding transportation options for employees and job-seekers.

“RIDE Solutions has always helped commuters in the region connect to carpools and other options,” says RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes, “but this new partnership with the West Piedmont Planning District Commission means we can take advantage of closer ties to the business community and local government to spread the word about who we are and how we can help.”

RIDE Solutions provides commuter services to assist with carpooling, vanpooling, bicycle commuting, public transit, and more. These commuter services are not only expected to save the average driver over $3,000 a year, they provide an alternative transportation option to get workers to jobs throughout the West Piedmont region.

“Transportation is a critical issue in our region,” says David Hoback, Executive Director of the WPPDC. “By connecting employees to existing transportation services such as carpooling and transit, and developing new services such as vanpooling, our partnership with RIDE Solutions will bring valuable new services to our residents, localities, and business community.” Hoback, along with Regional Planner Joe Bonnano, will lead the Planning District Commission’s regional outreach efforts.

The new partnership with the West Piedmont Planning District Commission augments RIDE Solutions’ existing partnerships with planning district commissions in the New River Valley and Lynchburg. RIDE Solutions now serves an area of over 8,365 miles and 1,015,714 citizens, making it the largest geographic commuter services agency in the state of Virginia.

The program will be in effect throughout the WPPDC’s entire service region of Danville, Pittsylvania County, Martinsville, Henry County and Patrick County.
Current Unemployment Rates in the Region
The unemployment rate in the region continues to decline and in July, the unemployment rate in the region was 3% according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The region was last at 3% unemployment in 2007, just prior to the “great recession”. Unemployment peaked in 2010 at 7.7%, but has been declining steadily since. The Congressional Budget Office helps establish a natural rate of unemployment, and based on those numbers, the current unemployment rate can be considered full employment.
*Source: Virginia Employment Commission
Botetourt County Broadband Summit
Botetourt County recently hosted a Rural Broadband Summit that attracted a diverse range of speakers and over 100 attendees. Over 40 speakers provided information on rural broadband issues including legal issues, funding, technology and barriers to deployment. 

Botetourt County’s Broadband Advisory Committee helped organize the conference to highlight issues that face rural localities like Botetourt and other similar regions in the State. The Summit was well received and the quality of the speakers provided attendees with many ideas to tackle rural broadband deployment.

For more information, contact Matt Miller,
Regional Commission and Roanoke Valley TPO Support Raising Funds for I-81
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization passed resolutions this month urging the General Assembly to consider solutions to support improvements to Interstate 81 through designated funding which would specifically benefit the I-81 Corridor region.

For more information, contact Cristina Finch,
I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan - Final Meeting
State transportation officials are developing a plan to improve I-81 throughout Virginia. From your perspective, what are the biggest issues on the I-81 corridor, and how should improvements be funded? 

The next, and last, meeting for the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan in our region will be held at the Holiday Inn on Ordway Drive, Thursday, October 25 at 3:00 p.m., immediately following the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Fall Transportation meeting which will start at 2:00 p.m.. 

Keep up-to-day on the plan’s development online (
Regional Commission Co-Sponsors Aging in Place Panel
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission in the News

" A joint project by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and local governments is marketing the Roanoke River and streams as the Roanoke River Blueway. "

Article by:  The Roanoke Times

For more information, contact Tim Pohlad-Thomas,
In the News

“This is an integral part of the state’s economy, it’s an integral part of this area’s economy, and it’s important that we move forward,”

Article by:  The Roanoke Times

For more information, contact Tim Pohlad-Thomas,
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.

  • Craig County Comprehensive Plan Update
  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Rural Transit Study
  • Stormwater Assistance
  • Vinton Zoning Assistance
  • Working with Franklin County on "Aging in Place" issues
  • 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 .