Roanoke County BOS Chairman looking to improve transportation in the Valley

ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS10) - Members of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors said they want to see more funding for transportation projects in the Roanoke Valley.

Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jason Peters said he wants to start the dialogue with the community and political leaders to find out what projects in the Valley need to be upgraded and how state leaders can get more money to fund them.

He said after seeing so much growth in the area, now is the time to focus on transportation funding.

Peters feels that having better transportation means having more jobs.

"Our citizens have said they want more jobs, they want better jobs. Those things can come, but there's going to be obstacles, such as transportation, we're going to have to overcome," Peters said.

In Thursday's State of the County Address, Peters said Southwest Virginia doesn't have the same opportunity as Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to raise money for transportation needs.

One idea though was to create a Transportation Tax District that would have allowed several localities, including Roanoke County, to raise its sales tax from 5.3 percent to 6 percent to generate money for transportation projects.

Peters said the board didn't want to move forward because there were too many unanswered questions and now he's asking local politicians for help.

Some delegates said there is a plan in place and the Roanoke Valley is already getting money for transportation projects.

"Three years ago, we passed HB-2, which modernized the way how we evaluated transportation projects," Delegate Greg Habeeb with the 8th District said.

Habeeb said he and other politicians have done all they can right now.

During the last four years, he has pushed for a number of efforts like House Bill 2, which he said levels the playing field for smaller areas, like Roanoke County, and the rest of the Valley to get more funding.

Habeeb said it's working, as a number of Roanoke Valley projects were approved this year for upgrades by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Peters said he wants to have community dialogue meetings with political leaders next month in December.

 

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