|Cov. Attorney Wilson Promotes Long-Shot Rte. 220 Action|
Covington, VA (May 10, 2021) - Former Delegate Bill Wilson, who has been a long-time advocate for a four-lane highway from Eagle Rock to Clifton Forge, has come up with a â€śplanâ€ť for how that highway might be built. He thinks there is an outside chance that we could get some of the â€śbridges and highwaysâ€ť infrastructure money if President Joe Biden is successful in getting his bill through the Congress. Wilson said, â€śI know this is a long shot but there is an old saying, â€śNothing ventured, nothing gained,â€ť so it is worth a try. I have asked for help from Senator Creigh Deeds, who is one of the most senior members of the Virginia Senate, and he responded quickly with a letter to U.S. Senator Mark Warner asking his help.â€ť
Copies of Wilsonâ€™s letter to Senator Deeds and Senator Deedsâ€™ letter to Senator Warner are set forth below:
Dear Creigh and Terry:
If I am hearing the news correctly, President Biden, with the help of both Democrats and Republicans, is proposing to increase spending for Americaâ€™s infrastructure, which includes roads and bridges. When I first heard about this proposal I sent a letter to newly appointed Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, asking his help completing the long-promised four-laneing of U.S. 220 between Eagle Rock and Clifton Forge. I sent a copy of that letter to Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Shannon Valentine.
When we met with Secretary Valentine at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College a little over a year ago, she thought, as I recall, that the four-lane possibility was dependent on federal aid. With this new proposal from President Biden, it seems logical to me that you two, and the U.S. 220 Delegation, would be wise to get our â€śhat in the ringâ€ť early on with our request to four-lane U.S. 220.
It also seems to me that the two of you are well-positioned to take on this job, with you, Creigh, on the Senate Rules Committee, and you, Terry, on the House Transportation Committee. This could be a classic, and much-needed, bipartisan effort.
Although it is true that big construction is now going on between Eagle Rock and Clifton Forge to improve U.S. 220 and make it into a super two-lane road, the future of the Alleghany Highlands is better served by a four-lane road connecting us to Roanoke.
My hope is that you two seasoned legislators will take the lead in contacting the Biden Administration at the appropriate time requesting that the U.S. 220 four-lane project be put in line for funding. Our best argument, it seems to me, is that this much-needed project was promised to us back in the 1980(s), was planned, engineered, with much right-of-way acquired, and then abandoned for reasons that never made sense to me.
By copy of this letter, and the attached letter to Secretary Pete Buttigieg, I am alerting the U.S. 220 Delegation, and others, to my request and asking them to get on board, through resolutions and in other ways, to assist the two of you in this effort.
The favor of a reply would be appreciated.
William T. Wilson
Even if we put all our heads together, we may not succeed, but â€śnothing ventured, nothing gainedâ€ť should be our watchwords.
R. Creigh Deeds
* * *
Wilson recalled that when Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine spoke to the U.S. 220 Delegation at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College several years ago, she said that if U.S. 220 between Eagle Rock and Clifton Forge were to be four-laned in the reasonably near future, it would have to be with federal assistance. Wilson thinks President Bidenâ€™s infrastructure bill might just be that â€śassistance.â€ť
â€śI know it is a longshot,â€ť Wilson said, â€śbut with the help of two Democratic U.S. senators, a Democratic President, and a local Democratic Senator, it just might get done. That is a lot of â€śmuscle,â€ť if the will is there. I am hopeful that our â€śU.S. 220 Delegationâ€ť will get behind the effort and make their voices heard. Of course, the first thing that has to happen is for the â€śbillâ€ť to pass. We will see what happens.â€ť