With over 100 people in attendance, the third annual VDOT-VAA Discussion with the Department was a huge success. VDOT and VAA attendees heard presentations on Pavement Performance analysis from Mr. Kevin Gregg—VDOT Chief of Maintenance and Operations, Impacts of the Interstate Funding Bill by Ms. Laura Farmer—Acting VDOT Chief Financial Officer, and Organizational Changes and Project Maintenance Funding for 2020 from Mr. Rob Cary—VDOT Deputy Chief Commissioner. To start the meeting, new Virginia FHWA Division Administrator, Mr. Thomas Nelson, addressed the group. He spoke about key areas such as federal transportation funds, the need to embrace innovation, and working together as a team. After the formal presentations, VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich spoke on a myriad of items and the need for a sustainable transportation program.
The last half of the afternoon was spent in open discussion. VDOT and VAA participants touched on issues common to both parties. VAA members asked questions about the preliminary maintenance funding amounts in each district. Much discussion was held around the implementation of inlaid plastic pavement markers for 2020 projects and the challenges industry faces in acquiring the new installation equipment. Several in attendance spoke about the challenges with the Local Assistance Program projects. Mr. Cary said VDOT is working to certify people in localities to administer LAP projects. This should help with project delivery and conformance with state and federal requirements. Finally, VDOT and the CTB are undertaking an effort to improve construction cost estimates. This effort was announced earlier in the week and will involve many different entities.
As the afternoon came to an end, there was one last order of business. Mr. Garrett Moore, VDOT’s retiring Chief Engineer, was called to the front of the room. Garrett was recognized for his 20 years of service to the Commonwealth and the 20 years of service to our country before that as a United States Marine. His willingness and leadership as VDOT Chief Engineer led to many initiatives that improved communication between VDOT and Industry as well as his strong desire to improve quality and delivery of projects by rewarding companies willing to make the necessary investments. After many kind words by those in attendance, he was presented with a cake and champagne toast.
Work is underway for the 2020 Discussion with the Department. That meeting will be held in October at the Jefferson Hotel. VAA members wishing to see the VDOT presentations from the 2019 Discussion with the Department should contact Caroline at the VAA office.