Blacksburg council majority backs Smart Road I-81 connector | Blacksburg News |

BLACKSBURG — The town council narrowly passed a resolution Tuesday night backing a hefty funding request for the proposed connection of the Smart Road to Interstate 81.

The request came from the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, which about two years ago re-introduced a $215 million proposal to link the currently private Smart Road in Blacksburg to the roadway that provides the quickest route between the New River and Roanoke valleys.

Town council passed the resolution on a 4-3 vote.

The MPO plans to submit the request to the next round of Smart Scale, a competitive program that scores locally submitted transportation projects seeking state funding. New application rules require that submissions obtain formal backing from localities that the projects would be in.

The Smart Road is currently under the management of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and is regularly used as a test track for automotive innovations such as self-driving cars.

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