Transportation Board Approves $11B for Next Six Years

Mon July 02, 2007 - Southeast Edition
CEG



The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) June 21 approved an $11 billion funding program for public transportation, rail and highway projects for the next six fiscal years, beginning July 1.

It also approved the first six-year funding program for highway maintenance and operations projects.

The final Fiscal Years 2008-2013 Six-Year Improvement Program is $3.1 billion larger than the program approved in 2006, and it is the first to show a sustainable increase in available transportation funding since 1986.

Approximately $500 million a year in new revenue and bonds was made available through a compromise transportation funding package developed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the General Assembly this year.

The approved program includes $2 billion for public transportation over the next six years, a 41 percent increase; rail receives $322 million, a 68 percent increase; and highway construction receives $8.7 billion, a 28 percent increase.

“This new program clearly reflects the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s commitment to citizens’ safety, to improving the existing transportation system and to thinking beyond individual projects,” Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer said. “It is a comprehensive package that takes a new approach to delivering the best surface transportation program for the money available.”

Key public transit initiatives supported through the program include:

• Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

• Norfolk Light Rail Transit Project

• GRTC Richmond Transit Facility

• Universal Access Program

• Virginia Railway Express rolling stock

• Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rolling stock

• Statewide transit rolling stock.

Key rail initiatives include:

• Interstate 95 and Interstate 81 rail corridor passenger/freight rail improvements

• Heartland Corridor

• Suffolk Rail improvements

• Buckingham Branch shortline passenger/freight rail improvements.

206 Major Projects Slated

Virginia’s state highway construction program is growing: 206 interstate and primary projects will be under construction during the next six years, compared to 48 planned a year ago. Another 342 secondary and urban projects could be ready for, or under construction within six years, for a total of 548 projects.

“Most of the highway funding is focused on advancing projects and getting them under construction quicker,” Homer said. “The CTB also gave highest priority to projects that meet goals of improving safety, reconstructing and rehabilitating the highway system, helping freight movements, clearing up bottlenecks, improving highway operations — such as incident management, signs, signals and pavement markings — and for aggressively managing access to Virginia’s roadways. Managing access links directly to our efforts in traffic impact analysis and land use.”

Approximately 50 significant efforts to help achieve those goals were included in a presentation made at the CTB workshop prior to the action meeting. The presentation is available at ctb.virginia.gov/meetings.asp. The efforts include, but are not limited to, projects for:

Safety and rehabilitating/reconstructing existing highways:

• A regional congestion management plan in the Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg areas to address anticipated congestion related to several mega-projects’ construction

• Acceleration and deceleration lanes on I-81

• Major pavement rehabilitation on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County

• A new Huguenot Bridge in the Richmond area

• I-95/Temple Avenue interchange improvements in Colonial Heights, in response to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) effort

• Interchanges at routes 27/244 and Route 50/Courthouse Street in Arlington

• Route 58 Courtland Bypass and the Gilmerton Bridge in Hampton Roads

• Route 15 widening between Farmville and Hampden Sydney

• Route 114 bridge in Montgomery County

Freight movement:

• Truck climbing lanes on I-81

• Interstate 64 at Zion Crossroads

• Rail crossing improvements in Suffolk

• Route 60 widening in James City County and Newport News

• Moccasin Gap Bypass in southwest Virginia

• Hillsville Bypass

Removing bottlenecks:

• I-64/264 and Lynnhaven interchanges in Virginia Beach

• I-64 widening in Newport News

• I-66 Gainesville interchange Phase 4: Route 29/Linton Hall Road

• I-95 widening in Fairfax County from Newington to Occoquan

• Route 50 widening at the Fairfax/Loudoun County line

• Constructing six lanes of the Fairfax County Parkway from Rolling Road to Fullerton Road, in response to the BRAC effort

• Route 3 widening and Spotsylvania Courthouse bypass

• Route 11/460 in Roanoke County

• Port Republic Road in Rockingham County

• Route 3 widening in Culpeper County

• Route 360 in the Mechanicsville area and Chesterfield County

Improving access and land use:

• A bicycle and pedestrian path in Middlesex County

• I-81 exit 150 at Troutville and exit 17 at Abingdon

• I-66 multimodal study inside the Beltway

• Route 29 Long Range Corridor Plan in the Culpeper District

• Route 37 Environmental Impact Study in Frederick County

The CTB also approved the Virginia Department of Transportation’s first six-year program for maintenance and operations. The new program, which is required by legislation passed last year, is shown as part of the broader SYIP for transportation projects.

The new $10.5 billion program includes $8.3 billion for maintenance and operations of interstate, primary and secondary state-maintained roads and $2.2 billion for payments to localities that maintain their streets.

The Fiscal Year 2008 budgets for VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation DRPT also were approved at $4 billion and $624 million, respectively.