Posted by: project151 | September 21, 2007

Media Response Regarding FOIA & Truck Restriction Request on 151

Friday morning Project 151 received the following e-mail from a reporter with the News Virginia Newspaper in Waynesboro. Alicia is being a good and honest reporter to help set the record straight as to how the request or lack of may have never happened. Project 151 is committed to providing accurate information and will always present the truth from both sides.

On Sep 21, 2007, at 9:41 AM, Alicia wrote:

Thanks so much for forwarding that to me. I had actually forgotten, believe it or not, that those first few articles after the accident cited an official CTB opinion. Those reports were, obviously, inaccurate.

Kevin Wright of VDOT actually referenced the discrepancy at this month’s Board of Supervisors meeting, clarifying that the past opinions given were only informal assessments from VDOT. The board can still submit a formal request to the CTB, he said, but VDOT doesn’t feel it would have much chance for approval.

He did not address how the mistake made it into print and, unfortunately, I failed to ask anyone about it at the time.

Reviewing my own articles on the subject, which were written after Wright’s presentation, I see my writing tended to be vaguely phrased, referring either to VDOT or the state. I did at one point quote Wright saying the county can still submit a request and briefly outlined the process that would entail, but I never explicitly referenced the previous errors or stated outright no CTB request had ever been made.

I plan to bring this up with my editor later today. Since I’m sure we ran at least one of those earlier articles that invoked a CTB ruling, I imagine there’ll be some discussion of a correction.

Again, thanks for remembering me and keeping me up-to-date with Project 151’s activites. I really appreciate it.


Response to Alicia

From: Project 151 & 6
Date: September 21, 2007 11:26:05 AM EDT
To: Alicia
Subject: Re: FOIA Request on Route 151 restriction request with VDOT reply-1

No problem Alicia.

I understand totally how these things go. Having been both an affiliate, and later a network television correspondent (after the law enforcement days) I know the biz very well. Actually I think you are being a bit tough on yourself. While I already suspected what you have said in your e-mail. Make no mistake, no one in authority had come forward to set the record straight in the past saying, “Well, actually we never formally requested CTB restrict traffic, we just sort of inquired.” Some elected officials wanted to perpetuate the myth that such a request had been made and then denied at state levels.

For the record, this has been printed and recited in several other media outlets outside of the Media General Group, so it’s been a widespread belief such a request had been made. Again no one at the BOS level or otherwise set it straight until now.

Though not specifically referenced in this account from last December, you can see it was being discussed even then after the table top exercise myself and about 100 other residents participated in with the Jefferson Area Planning District. 75-80 % of those in the group came back with suggestions of eliminating through trucks from the road. No action was ever taken.

Thanks again for dropping me a reply and feel free to touch base anytime. I had an interesting conversation this morning with Delegate Watkins Abbitt from Appomattox about possible solutions, we can talk about that at some point in the future.

Have a great weekend!

Tommy Stafford
Team member


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