Gov. Bob McDonnell says that HB 2313, the transportation funding bill he signed into law this week, went into immediate action when the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) released the state’s working draft of the Fiscal Years 2014-2019 Six-Year Improvement Program.
The program allocates $15.4 billion, a $4 billion increase, in funding to transportation improvements over the next six fiscal years beginning July 1, 2013. Improvements include highway, road, rail, transit and bridge projects and other improvements across the state. Each year the six-year program is updated to reflect the latest projected revenues and transportation priorities.
“Because of the new sustainable funding, the CTB can now look at the entire six-year-program with a long-term focus on improving the transportation system we have, building projects and planning new ones,” says Gov. McDonnell. “The program reflects hundreds of transportation projects identified as critical priorities by localities, regional entities and the Commonwealth. Most importantly, the work created by the program will sustain thousands of jobs and have a multi-billion dollar impact on Virginia’s economy.”
Secretary Sean T. Connaughton added, “The CTB is putting the new funding into action by programming where the transportation dollars will go, including rehabilitating existing roads, adding new capacity to ease congestion and expanding intercity passenger rail service. The draft program is about making all modes of transportation better statewide. The new funding allows the Commonwealth to advance many projects that are already in the existing six-year program and move ahead on getting new projects ready for construction.”
“A key component of the program is the ongoing rehabilitation of the existing transportation system,” says Greg Whirley, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). “The new, sustainable revenues will accelerate VDOT’s efforts to extend the life of existing pavements and bridges, so we can get the most out of our current infrastructure. Motorists will see more paving projects than usual in the short-term and more highway construction projects in the long-term as we get new projects ready for construction. The result will be a better transportation system.”
“Timing was critical to identify a dedicated funding source for continued intercity passenger rail for Virginia and provide funding for greater public transit choices to meet the needs and challenges of the Commonwealth’s growing transportation system. With the end of federal funding for Amtrak Regional train service this year, Virginia is now prepared to support intercity passenger rail as an integral part of its transportation solutions and is able to meet the new federal law requiring the Commonwealth to support all regional Amtrak train services originating in Virginia,” said Thelma Drake, director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). “This new funding also allows for the continued expansion of Amtrak Virginia from Lynchburg to Roanoke within four years and for additional train service to Norfolk. The six-year program also provides new funding for high performance public transportation services.”
The draft six-year program funding breakdown, including additional funding for Hampton Roads is below:
- Highways and bridges - $11.1 billion ($2.1 billion increase)
- Rail and public transportation - $3.0 billion ($0.6 billion increase)
- Hampton Roads transportation fund - $1.3 billion (new funding for transportation improvements in the Hampton Roads region)
- Total: $15.4 billion ($4.0 billion increase)
HB 2313 also established a new transportation revenue source for Northern Virginia, which is $1.9 billion over six years. This amount is not reflected in the draft six-year program because it will be allocated regionally through the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Fund.