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Commonwealth Transportation Board allocates Federal CARES Act Funding to Virginia public transit systems

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the allocation of nearly $100 million of the $456 million in federal public transportation funding apportioned to Virginia by the CARES Act.

RVAHub Staff

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The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the allocation of nearly $100 million of the $456 million in federal public transportation funding apportioned to Virginia by the CARES Act. The stimulus funds will enable local governments, small urban, and rural transit agencies throughout the Commonwealth to offset the substantial revenue losses, as well as sustain essential mobility functions related to the prevention, preparation, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our public transit agencies are the backbone of our economy and ensure critical movement of goods and people in all of our communities,” stated Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This relief helps Virginia’s transit systems continue essential services and operations, and also offset the substantial costs of driver salaries, sanitization supplies, and protective equipment purchased to combat the Coronavirus and its aftermath.”

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes $25 billion in federal transit assistance. The Commonwealth of Virginia was apportioned $456 million as follows:

  • $356.6 million distributed directly to urban public transit agencies.
  • $47.2 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to small urban transit agencies.
  • $52.5 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to rural transit agencies, the Virginia Breeze intercity bus service, and the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program.

The CTB amended DRPT’s FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) to reflect the nearly $100 million in discretionary funding as follows:

  • 100% of small urban transit agency funding according to the existing formula utilized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Small urban agencies can apply directly to the FTA for their share of funding (CARES Act Section 5307 Apportionment Split Letter).
  • 50% of rural transit agency funding according to the FY2020 allocation formula for FTA rural operating funding. (CARES Act Section 5311 Initial Distribution)
  • 15% of rural transit agency funding to the Virginia Breeze intercity bus program.
  • 35% of remaining rural transit agency and Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program funding to be held in reserve to address critical transit agency needs and administrative support for management of the CARES Act program.

The federal CARES Act funding does not require a state or local match and is nearly three times the amount of federal transit funding appropriated to Virginia transit agencies in FY 2020. All operating and capital uses are eligible, retroactive to January 20, 2020, and include purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning equipment, and payment of administrative leave for employees.

CARES Act funding comes in addition to the $11 million in emergency statewide operating funding approved by the CTB last month, which has also allowed many Virginia public transit agencies to offset revenue and ridership losses and provide essential trips fare-free.

“The CARES Act will offer much-needed relief to our transit agencies that continue to endure ridership and revenue losses,” stated Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Jennifer Mitchell. “The funding will have a profound impact on the public transportation industry and its ability to recover from the pandemic.”

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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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