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I-81 Corridor Coalition annual meeting to begin Oct. 31 in Blacksburg


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 28, 2011 – National and state transportation leaders are slated to speak at the I-81 Corridor Coalition 2011 annual meeting Monday, Oct. 31 and Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Holiday Inn University, 900 Prices Fork Rd., Blacksburg.

"We are pleased to host the I-81 Corridor Coalition’s annual meeting," said coalition executive direction of Ray Pethtel, director of the Transportation Policy Group at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The institute's researchers "are fully committed to the coalition’s mission to create ‘safe, efficient, and environmentally-sound movement of people and goods'," he said.

John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, will present the keynote address at 10:40 a.m. following the 10:30 a.m. welcome on Monday. Horsley served as the associate deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1993 to 1999. In this position, he was an advocate for intermodal policies, quality of life initiatives, and liaison to state and local governments, U.S. Congress, and transportation constituencies.

Other speakers include The Hon. Sean Connaughton, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, at 12:30 p.m., and Tony Furst, director of the Office of Freight Management and Operations, at 1:30 p.m., both on Monday; and Scott Greene, senior economist with the Federal Railroad Administration, at 8 a.m., and Richard Marrs, assistant manager of government relations for Norfolk Southern, at 10 a.m., both on Tuesday.

In addition, attendees will hear from various committees of the I-81 Corridor Coalition various about the direction of the coalition.

The annual meeting will conclude with a presentation at 11 a.m. Tuesday by Jon Hankey, interim director and associate director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the director of the institute’s Center for Automotive Safety Research. Hankey has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of human factors, driver behavior and performance, and transportation safety. He leads a team of more than 19 senior and associate researchers, scientists, and engineers in the management of research projects totaling more than $6 million.

Following Hankey’s presentation, attendees are invited to take a tour of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute's state-of-the-art facilities, including Virginia’s Smart Road. 

More than 100 transportation stakeholders will be in attendance. The annual meeting sponsors are Lanford Brothers Co., Norfolk Southern, Virginia Tech, Volkert and Whitman, and Requardt & Associates LLP. 

For information, email Carolyn Blanton or call her at 540-231-3589.

The I-81 Coalition was founded in 2007 as a partnership between New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee and included local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, state transportation departments, private sector, and non-profit organizations.  The six-state partnership was developed because each of the states host a critical section of I-81 and have joined together to achieve, to the greatest extent possible, a safe, efficient, environmentally sensitivity, seamless, and intermodal transportation corridor.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, money, and protect the environment. One of the seven university-level research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute continually advances transportation through innovation and has impacted public policy on the national and international level.