There’s a short answer to that and a long answer. Here’s the short answer: From 1992 through 2005, the Town Council kept water rates the same (except for out-of-towners). Then, when it came time to pay to expand the water plant, there was not enough money saved up. So we had to borrow a lot. We now pay about $5,000,000 each year in debt service (loan payments) for the utility department. To pay all that off, we needed to raise rates quite a bit.
See answers to more water-related questions here: http://www.davebutler.us/WaterRates.html
Crossing the Bypass on the east side of town is a problem. Rather than use our free Safe-T-Ride, people often run across the Bypass taking their life in their hands. I've asked for a public hearing on putting a sidewalk crosswalk on the north side of the intersection with Edwards Ferry Rd and a bike-ped trail crosswalk on the north side of the intersection with Battlefield Parkway. I believe these are feasible and would cost very little.
What about a bridge across the Bypass near Ft. Evans Rd?
We've discussed this on Council at least twice. The bridge will never be built. According to VDOT, it would cost about $12M, and they estimate that only about six people a day would use it. Long bridges like this just aren't built anymore. The walk is too long (you have to walk to the beginning of the bridge, up and over the long, tall bridge, and then to your destination) and too out-of-the way, for most pedestrians. In addition, it's not at all clear where you could start the bridge or end it. Remember, a bridge at Ft. Evans would need to be quite long to go over all of those lanes, and the ramps would also need to be long just to get up to the height that the bridge would need to be. And a bridge at Ft. Evans would do nothing for folks that cross the Bypass at other locations. Simply put, for $12M (which we don't have), the Town could help a lot more people in a lot of different ways.
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