Bill to designate US 1 as Historic Route 1 Passes

-- Measure will stimulate economic development & tourism across the Commonwealth--

CENTRAL VA – House Bill 530, patroned by Del. Nixon (R-Chesterfield) is a measure to designate U.S. Route 1 in Virginia as "Historic Route 1."  Through Virginia, U.S. 1 is paralleled by Interstates: the remainder of Interstate 85 to Petersburg, Interstate 95 through Richmond and Fredericksburg to Alexandria, and Interstate 395 into Arlington.  Within Virginia, U.S. 1 is called Jefferson Davis Highway by state law, although local communities have renamed it and it is best known as "Jeff Davis Highway". 

In its original form, the bill merely designated the portion in Chesterfield County and the City of Colonial Heights as "Historic Route 1."  Through bipartisan efforts, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Mechanicsville), and Del. John Cox (R-Hanover), joined Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) and seventeen other Delegates in a letter to Governor McDonnell requesting him to offer amendments that would extend designation to the entire length of Route 1 in the Commonwealth.  The legislation, as amended, was passed by a vote of 97-0. 

Localities may use the new designation as a useful tool to promote economic development and historic tourism efforts, generating well needed revenue.  A strong supporter of historic preservation and tourism, Peace previously championed House Bill 1722 which created “The Road to Revolution” state heritage trail and honors the first Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry.

Peace, working with Alisa Bailey of Virginia Tourism Corporation and Jack Berry of the Richmond Convention & Visitor's Bureau, established the heritage trail of sites that pay homage to Patrick Henry’s leading role in liberating Virginia from Colonial rule.  Through on-going marketing efforts, the Trail strives to bring a considerable number of tourists to Central Virginia, as well as contribute to the joint marketing and economic development efforts of surrounding areas.

“Stimulating the economy, creating jobs and generating tourism revenue is important in these fiscal times,” stated Peace.  “Continuing to promote Virginia’s vast historic sites will allow us to reach in to the purses of those that travel our highways and byways from across the Nation.” 

In other economic development news from the legislature, Governor Bob McDonnell "Jobs and Opportunity Agenda" focuses on spurring job creation, promoting economic development and creating more opportunities for Virginians.  Among the highlights of McDonnell's agenda advancing through the legislative process are measures to double the Governor's Opportunity Fund, create a state HUB Zone Program, lower the threshold for Virginia's Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, provide tax credits for movie production, help veterans open small businesses, direct future royalties and revenue from offshore energy production to transportation and green energy development, and create the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation to encourage and facilitate energy research and economic development at Virginia's universities and in the Commonwealth's rural areas.

According to the Governor’s staff, a preliminary economic impact analysis prepared by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership estimates that just the budget initiatives component of McDonnell's "Jobs and Opportunity Agenda" alone will lead to over $311 million in new revenue for the Commonwealth over five years, and the creation of more than 29,000 new jobs over the biennium.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.