Hampton Roads to Benefit From Va.’s $15.4B Highway Plan

Tue June 04, 2013 - Northeast Edition

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Hampton Roads would become a conspicuous winner under a draft of Virginia’s blueprint for highway construction projects over the next six years.

Fattened by about $4 billion from the newly passed transportation reform law, the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s new worksheet anticipates spending $15.4 billion, some of them on projects delayed for years because of anemic revenues.

The plan that includes more than 2,600 new and continuing projects on the boards through 2019 is now open for a month of public inspection and input, including four public hearings in each region of the state through June 5 — before the Commonwealth Transportation Board votes on a final version June 19 in Richmond.

Of Virginia’s eight transportation districts, Hampton Roads would receive the largest allocation — $1.7 billion while Northern Virginia gets $1.2 billion. But those two districts — the most populous and hopelessly congested in Virginia — get even more, due to regional funding provisions in the 2013 transportation funding bill McDonnell signed on May 13.

The Hampton Roads Transportation Fund provides an additional $1.3 billion for Virginia’s port and the Northern Virginia Transportation Fund will yield an extra $1.9 billion for long-stalled projects in the sprawling, far-flung suburbs and exurbs and Washington, D.C.

Overall, the plan applies slightly more than $11.1 billion to highway and bridge projects, an increase of about $2 billion. Trains and transit systems receive about $3 billion, up about $600 million from the last six-year transportation plan.

Newly funded projects include $100 million to widen Interstate 64 from Newport News to Williamsburg and wand toll reductions on the Dulles Toll Road, bolstered passenger train service linking Norfolk, Richmond and Petersburg that got started this year and expanding the Washington Metro rail service’s new silver line extending service eventually to Dulles International Airport.

The plan allots $903 million through 2017 for a 55-mi. (88.5 km) stretch of a new interstate-quality U.S. 460 from Interstate 295 in Prince George County east to U.S. 58 in Suffolk and $423 million for 28 mi. (45 km) of high-occupancy vehicle and high-occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 95 in northern Virginia.

Elsewhere in Virginia, there’s $125 million for a 6.2-mi. (10 km) U.S. 29 bypass in Albemarle County around Charlottesville and a $143 million outlay for 4.4 mi. (7 km) of a new Route 460 corridor in Buchannan County.