Chesapeake Bypass doesn’t get funding from state TRACPublished 10:29am Friday, July 26, 2013
CHESAPEAKE — The state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) has rejected funding for the long-awaited Chesapeake Bypass.
On Thursday the TRAC approved Gov. John Kasich’s $3 billion transportation plan. Included in the plan is the $440 million Portsmouth Bypass, but not the Chesapeake project.
For decades Lawrence County economic development officials have pushed to construct a bypass in the Chesapeake area to connect with the existing Proctorville Bypass creating a Tri-State Connector.
County officials had sought from the TRAC this time about $79 million to acquire right of way and construct the highway.
“Naturally I am very disappointed the TRAC chose not to provide any funding at all for the project, especially in light of how close we are to a complete design and the need to buy real estate,” Lawrence County Engineer Doug Cade said. “Sacrifices were made to make it a smaller project from a four-lane to a two-lane project.”
A factor in the TRAC’s decision is that there is not enough local funding for the project, Cade said.
“They want us to put money in, but we don’t have the money because we are a rural county,” Cade said. “(Lawrence County) shares our population with the Tri-State. Our traffic is shared across state lines. It isn’t a project that just benefits Lawrence County, but the whole Tri-State.”
TRAC member and executive director of Lawrence Economic Development Corporation Dr. Bill Dingus said the decision revolved around the lack of overall funding.
“Everyone concurs it is a great project but there are not the funds,” he said. “Portsmouth Bypass is through innovative financing. It is coming out of ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) that has been set aside. It was part of the old Appalachian Development Highway System. Chesapeake was not part of that. Portsmouth being part of the ADHS it receives the federal funds. The Chesapeake Bypass is considered in relation to other projects in the state.”