BRISTOL, Va. - Southwest Virginians came to the Virginia Department of Transportation's public hearing at the Holiday Inn in Bristol Tuesday night to tell state transportation secretary Aubrey Layne about the improvements they want to see in the area.
"We are here in Bristol to hear particular issues that relate to this district," said Layne.
The issues range from building new infrastructure along state highways to adding new forms of transportation, like a public railway system that goes through Bristol.
After Tuesday night's hearing, those proposed projects could soon join more than 100 other planned projects listed in the six-year improvment program for the Bristol district.
News 5 found out more than $3.2 billion dollars will fund rail and transit programs in Virginia from 2015 to 2020.
In the Bristol district, that includes $203 million for the Corridor Q Poplar Creek, a Coalfield Expressway in Buchanan and Dickenson counties, $44 million for I-81 interchange improvements in Abingdon, and $10 million for the Coalfields Expressway Crane's Nest design.
"One thing that is different in this plan is that legislation was passed this year, House Bill # 2, which requires prioritization of projects in rural areas, and economic development is the largest criteria for this area. So I think this new scoring plan is going help projects in this part of the state to be better recognized," said Layne.
Secretary Layne tells us he and his committee will review the requests and will make considerations before the budget is finalized in the coming months.
The six-year improvement program is set to begin in July.