New Senate Bill Could Help Virginia Museum of Transportation Become a State Agency

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – A museum that celebrates its 60th anniversary next year may get the funding it needs not only to stay open, but also to make improvements and hire more staff.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, located in downtown Roanoke, is now part of Senate Bill 72, drafted by Democratic Senator from Roanoke, John Edwards.

Currently, the museum is not eligible for state funding because it is not a state agency, but SB 72 is looking to change that. A separate budget amendment, also recently tabled, would give the museum $ 2 million a year.

“His [the museum] an economic engine that is not recognized at this stage, so that the state could make it number one stable, number two, a growth opportunity, because if the state pays for your operations and your benefits, and you become eligible for state retirement, you can hire employees who have a different interest in the future of the museum, ”said the museum’s long-time former director Bev Fitzpatrick, who was instrumental in the history of the museum before the museum opened, when he was a teenager.

Fitzpatrick said that although the museum was named the state’s official transportation museum in 1984, the move initially made no money. But over the years the museum has found ways to bounce back, like when the 611 was rebuilt.

At present, there is no timeline as to when the bill will be heard in the Senate. A new session of the general assembly begins on Wednesday.

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Norman D. Briggs