Fund Supports Campaign For Regional Mass Transit In Greater Richmond Area

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This image (from RVA Magazine) depicts a potential mass transit stop in Greater Richmond

For decades, the Richmond, Virginia, metropolitan area has suffered from the lack of regional mass transit. The core city of Richmond, home to 20% of the population, has a bus system, but the surrounding three counties – where 80% of the population and virtually all of the economic growth reside – have no mass transit.

The conflict is steeped in racial hostility and animosity among governments. But today, a growing group of community leaders are building momentum for change. A grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, approved by the Fund’s trustees at the second-quarter meeting, will provide key staffing for one of the critical entities in this effort.

The trustees approved a grant of $130,000 to ST. JAMES’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Richmond, Virginia, to enable the church to partner with Richmond Hill and the Clergy Committee for Rapid Transit to hire an organizer and marketing director to advance the campaign for comprehensive public transportation.

Richmond Hill is an ecumenical Christian community that has served as the de facto Council of Churches in Richmond for the past 25 years. The Clergy Committee has joined with the Richmond mayor’s anti-poverty commission, RVA Rapid Transit, and others to support the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation development of a pilot Bus Rapid Transit line, now in final engineering studies.

The Clergy Committee, significantly inter-racial, already represents 10 denominations.  A core of 30 clergy from all four jurisdictions includes Episcopal and Pentecostal bishops.  Individual church memberships are multi-jurisdictional. Working with the organizer, clergy will make presentations to other churches, enhancing the inter-racial and multi-jurisdictional support that is essential to this effort.