Brian McNeill reports in today's Progress (here) that the House-approved transportation appropriations bill includes two earmarks for Charlottesville projects:
- $500,000 for the 29/250 interchange
- $500,000 for the airport's runway extension project (which has a total price tag of $42 million)
Tom Perriello's office is publicizing the earmarks as an example of his successfully steering federal money to the 5th District. I can't decide if highlighting these funds is a good political strategy or not (the politics of earmarks is confusing to me).
I'm not sure why the 29/250 interchange is a federal priority - or why the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (which requested the grant) would have focused its efforts on getting federal money for this particular project. 29/250 is certainly not the biggest bottleneck on 29 (the intersections with Hydraulic and Rio Road are both bigger problem areas).
The other prominent local "car" story of the past couple of weeks has been the testing of Oliver Kuttner's electric car, which is the leading contender to win a $5 million prize if it passes several final tests.
The Progress actually sent McNeill to the midwest to cover the story, which I thought was a nice bit of "big picture, future-oriented" journalism by them.
Unfortunately there didn't seem to be a great deal to actually report on while he was there, or maybe I'm just not interested in cars enough to really appreciate the competition. I do love that Kuttner is focusing so much energy (and money) on the electric car project. I hope he succeeds.
Kuttner's Very Light Car