March 10, 2009 — The Virgin Islands Public Works Department is beginning to put together a territory-wide master transportation plan to guide road and transportation projects over the next 20 years.
A Tuesday statement from Government House called the effort the "Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan for 2030." It is the brainchild of Public Works Commissioner Darryl A. Smalls, who brought up the idea during his confirmation hearing.
Right now we prioritize, I feel, haphazardly," Smalls said then. "A comprehensive plan, regularly updated, for the entire territory would improve the quality of our infrastructure, make planning and funding easier and save money in the long run.
(See: "Senate Committee Approves Governor's Choice for Public Works Commissioner.")
The master plan will provide policy and decision makers with a tool to guide the government's decisions on transportation policy and infrastructure investments through the year 2030.
A first step in the development of the plan is surveying residents and visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands about how they get from Point A to Point B, Smalls said. This information will help planners understand how the Virgin Islands transportation system is being used today and also how it might be used in the future. At least three types of surveys are planned: home interviews, visitor surveys and public transportation surveys.
Starting soon, surveyors will call residents about the home survey, getting participants to put together a one-day travel diary. Surveyors will also be posted at the airports, ferry terminals and on board VITRAN public buses, clipboards in hand, asking visitors and residents about where they go and how frequently they use public transportation.
Planners will inventory and analyze the transportation network, study existing and projected census and land use information, and conduct traffic analyses for both current and projected future traffic. The transportation master plan will be a roadmap, with specific recommendations for new roads and highways, improvement in public transportation and other strategies for the growth and development of the Virgin Islands economy. The plan will also delineate the roles of the public and private sectors.
The development of a Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan represents a significant step forward in providing the Virgin Islands with planning and programming capabilities that will assist in meeting growth and development demands for the next 20 years," Smalls said in the Government House statement.
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