Road Projects Take Hit in VDOT Improvement Plan

Wed May 10, 2006 - Southeast Edition

The working draft of the Six-Year Improvement Program for FY 2007 to 2012 is available for public review.

The program allocates funding to rail, public transportation, commuter service, bicycle, pedestrian and road construction projects over six years.

The draft six-year program is based on the official revenue forecast from the Department of Taxation as required by the Code of Virginia. That forecast shows declining growth in the key funding sources that drive the transportation program — the state gas tax and transportation user fees. The program is reduced further by higher asphalt, concrete, steel, aggregate and fuel costs, as well as rising maintenance needs.

“By law, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has the responsibility to hold public hearings this spring and adopt a final program based on the official revenue forecast by July 1,” said Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer. “As a result, Virginia’s transportation program will be smaller, especially transit capital reimbursements and primary, secondary and urban road improvements.”

Based on the official revenue forecast and consistent with state law and CTB policy goals, the draft program shows the following reductions in construction funding:

• Primaries (i.e. major roadways that are not interstates) — 20 percent reduction or $40 million a year

•┬áSecondaries (i.e. subdivision and rural roads) — 38 percent reduction or $67 million a year

• Urban streets (i.e. streets within town and cities) — 41 percent reduction or $53 million a year

State money provided to transit capital projects will remain relatively flat in a time when alternate transportation modes are increasingly more important to Virginians. The portion of state funds used to match federal dollars for transit projects will drop to 21 percent, the lowest in the program’s history. This reduction will shift more of the burden to localities, with their transit operating costs expected to increase by 26 percent.

Public comments will be taken into consideration prior to the board approving the final program by July 1.

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