Manassas, Virginia, is once again looking for money to fund its Centreville Road roundabout and Mathis Avenue road diet after being snubbed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE grant program for the third time.
Last month, when USDOT announced the grant recipients for its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, the Manassas proposal was once again not on the list. Now, the city says, it will have to ask for help from regional and statewide bodies.
At the intersection of Centreville, Sudley Road and Prescott Avenue, officials are still hoping to build the $3.8 million roundabout to cut down on delays and make things safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
At the same time, they’re pursuing that project hand-in-hand with a roadway and beautification project along a 0.6-mile strip of Mathis Avenue from Sudley to Liberia Avenue. With a tree-lined median and planting strips along both sidewalks, the city hopes to attract redevelopment along the corridor with more mixed-use residential and commercial space.
“When we get to the next budget, to the FY 24 [capital improvement program], we’ll evaluate alternative funding sources, so look at other state and regional funding sources … and then we will provide those to [city] council for review,” Manassas Community Development Director Matt Arcieri told InsideNoVa, pointing to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority as a possible source.
The highly-competitive RAISE grants are meant to help communities “fix and modernize their infrastructure,” according to a press release from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttegieg, while also aligning with President Joe Biden’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and increasing “use of lower-carbon travel modes such as transit and active transportation.”
Six projects were awarded in Virginia for the 2022 round. The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was awarded $20 million for a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge along the Potomac River adjacent to the future Long Bridge replacement for Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains.
Spotsylvania County, meanwhile, was awarded $3 million for “Route 1 revitalization” planning, which will eventually modify three intersections for new bus service, sidewalk and streetscape improvements and better connections to the county’s bus transfer and Amtrak stations.
Arcieri said the transportation department eventually will offer a “debriefing” on how the city could strengthen its application, but that it was unlikely that Manassas would go back to the RAISE program to fund the projects.
“For this round, we were advised by DOT to enhance our explanation of all the climate and greenhouse gas reduction benefits of going from the signalized intersection to more free-flow movements, so we quantified that and included it,” Arcieri said. “But obviously it wasn’t successful.”
While officials wait to see what other entities might fund the projects, Manassas has the money to move ahead with the design phase of the Mathis Avenue revitalization plan and start design work on the roundabout. But as far as money for construction goes, the city will have to keep looking for now.
Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.