TDX Committee sponsors successful study tour to Oregon and Washington State - TransDominion Express


TDX Committee sponsors successful study tour to Oregon and Washington State

June 22–26

The Committee to Advance the TransDominion Express sponsored a successful a study tour to Oregon and Washington State, spanning from June 22–26. Taking twenty-six participants, the point was to find applicable parallels from development of the Cascades Line to our own TDX, and to build support through experience and education of the participating elected officials.

Paid for by a grant from the W. Alton Jones Foundation, participants were flown to Portland, Oregon, where local legislators, economic developers, and transportation specialists shared stories of success and frustration involved in the planning, building, and operation of the Cascades Line, its intermodal connections, residential, and commercial planning that completed the process of a fully integrated working system. The breakfast presentation on Sunday morning dwelled heavily on state-controlled land-use plans in Oregon, which Virginia does not have. Even so, there were valuable lessons and guidelines offered.


While the Cascades Line provides intercity travel between major communities, a combination of light rail, trolleys, and shuttle buses provides connectivity and commuter travel from residence to workplace. A ride on Portland’s MAX Light rail system to the suburban Orenco Station illustrated the defining victories of community planning around the train stations. This system was instrumental in enhancing and establishing fully integrated communities which showcase residences coexisting with restaurants, shopping, and nearby industry.

The outcome of the presentations and social activities was a mountain of information provided by transportation and economic developers from both states. Delegates asked questions of the officials and later discussed applications in Virginia.

The Committee to Advance the TDX has received positive response from tour participants. With a much-improved understanding and experience of what has already been accomplished elsewhere, they left discussing strategies among themselves, and with newly formed working relationships with TDX committee members. Post-trip surveys, although still trickling in, have been very encouraging, demonstrating enhanced support, enthusiasm, and suggestions for continued efforts.


Participants included Senator John Watkins and delegates Preston Bryant, Vince Callahan, Joe May, Jack Rollison, James Dillard, Mitchell VanYahres, Kenneth Plum, and Steven Landes. Peter Larken and Sarah Terry represented the offices of Congressmen Bob Goodlatte and Virgil Goode, respectively. Director Robert Vaughn and Ann Oman attended from the staff of the House Appropriations Committee, and Robert Manetta represented both Carilion Health System and the Roanoke City Planning Committee. Attendees from the Committee to Advance the TDX included Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Charles Warren; Wytheville-Wythe- Bland Chamber of Commerce Representative, William Smith; Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Katherine Strickland; French Moore, Mayor of Abingdon; Linda McMinimy, our lobbyist; and Rex Hammond, Christine Kennedy, and Barbara Hartley from the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chris Flores, reporter from Media General also attended. Special thanks is given to attendees Leo Bevon and Allen Tobias from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation who were largely responsible for the agenda and regional contacts.

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