Sean Connaughton probably won’t sleep very well tonight.
A FOIA request reveals that he low-balled the estimate for building Charlottesville’s proposed Western Bypass, which might help explain why he pushed through approval of the thing, getting a four-person majority on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors to hold an unadvertised midnight vote to sign off on it in July. VDOT’s study just one month beforehand found that the road would cost $436M, but he told the BOS—and the Commonwealth Transportation Board—that it would be just $197M, less than half of the real price. He promised the BOS $197M in funding if they’d OK it, and then he got the CTB to allocate the money. Now it emerges that he knew that it would cost a great deal more than that. Folks in Albemarle are pretty pissed about how this has all gone down, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here it is.
The only possibility that Connaughton has for redemption is if somehow, mystically, the bids come in at less than half of VDOT’s estimates, and then the work actually gets done for that price. And if that’s the case, he’s got another problem—his engineers can’t even get in the ballpark of how much a road costs.
GO ON! are you trying to tell me that VDOT actually “low-balls” road project estimates?
I’ll be hornswaggled.
been there.. done that.. big shock NOT!
“Folks in Albemarle are pretty pissed about how this has all gone down”
Bypass opponents have been pissed about how it has all gone down. Other people, not so much.
if the road price goes up substantially and the impacts to residential nearby is not trivial – you may see some proponents or clueless indifferent change their views… though…
I know more than a few supporters who are unhappy about it, too. You sap all of the authority out of a major decision when it’s made at midnight on an unannounced vote.
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