On June 30, VAA hosted a virtual town hall with VDOT’s Senior Leadership. Commissioner Brich, Chief Deputy Commissioner Cary, Chief Engineer Thrasher, and Chief of Maintenance and Operations Gregg joined over 40 VAA members for an hour-long discussion on topics ranging from transportation funding to the VDOT of tomorrow.
Commissioner Brich stated VDOT is in a strong fiscal condition. There are no intentions of reducing existing paving schedule contracts; to the contrary, Kevin Gregg said these contract values might be increased through funds available from the excellent prices received during the bidding. Likewise, Bart Thrasher stated VDOT had advertised the highest contract dollar amount in the first six months of 2020 since 2016. Commissioner Brich did caution attendees about the potential financial impacts of COVID-19. VDOT will not get an official financial outlook until November, and any reductions in the VDOT program will not be presented until the December Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting. Until then, VDOT will focus on the core programs. Much of the discretionary spending has been limited, and most travel has been restricted. As such, VDOT participation in upcoming industry events and meetings will be minimal or none. VAA staff will be coordinating with Rob Cary to outline what will be possible through the end of 2020.
When asked about permanent changes to VDOT and VDOT business processes, Rob Cary noted VDOT would look different. This will range from the people working in the offices to more people remotely working. Likewise, many business practice changes may become permanent. VDOT has observed the potential for possible increases in efficiencies and production. VAA members indicated their desire to maintain and expand the use of e-construction technologies. Many of these efforts will be discussed further in the next Paving Leadership Group meeting.
Future updates on the VDOT program will be provided in this newsletter and members-only virtual meetings. To hear a recording of this townhall, members should contact the VAA office.