Councilwoman proposes VDOT reimburse Broad Street businesses for lost revenue

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A city councilwoman in Richmond says that the construction delays on the GRTC “Pulse” project are causing Broad Street businesses to lose money.

Now, Councilwoman Kim Gray is proposing a radical solution: asking VDOT for millions to reimburse their lost revenue.

When it comes to running a business, Austin King considers Richmond’s Broad Street a prime location.

“Being here, near VCU is helpful, there’s a lot of foot traffic, it’s a cool destination location, I think,” King said. “Every day we spent most of the summer looking at it. It looks the same every single day.”

Construction of the GRTC Pulse rapid bus transit system runs more than seven miles along Broad Street.

“It’s so much harder to park here now because everything is closed,” Philip Shumaker, the manager of the restaurant Comfort said. “Some places you can’t get across Broad Street.”

King agrees it’s become a problem.

“We get all our inventory from our customers…A lot of times, it’s shoes and clothing, so if you can imagine bringing that in at high volume is difficult when you can’t find parking close to the shop,” Kind said.

Councilwoman Kim Gray says she sympathizes with what’s going on.

She’s proposed a resolution allowing Mayor Stoney to ask VDOT to reimburse businesses affected by ongoing construction.

Gray says the proposal has drawn criticism from the state’s Secretary of Transportation who calls the request unlawful.

Business owners like King support the idea.

“I think it’s a pretty interesting idea, being directly affected here,” King said. “Like, we’ve noticed it and I’m sure other businesses on Broad Street have as well, so keeping those businesses in mind, I think is pretty cool.”

Construction started August of 2016. Councilwoman Gray’s proposal would take about $3.25 million to divide among businesses affected.

A vote on the resolution is set to take place Dec. 11.

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