The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are taking action on the federal transportation reauthorization legislation that will provide $142 million of new funds over the next four years to improve safety and enhance freight mobility along I-81 in Virginia. These funds, when combined with the more than $166.5 million recently allocated by the Virginia Department of Transportation in its “Six-Year Transportation Plan,” bring over $300 million the amount of money now allocated for corridor improvements.
“This funding is the first step toward making substantial improvements in the I-81 corridor to serve as a national model for improving safety and reducing congestion by separating cars and trucks,” said Congressman Don Young. “I remain committed to seeking more funds in future reauthorizations to fully develop this project in Virginia.”
The additional federal funds, including $100 million allocated through a pilot program, will enhance freight mobility in the U.S. through innovative safety improvements. This was the largest earmark for any Virginia project and one of the largest in the country. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is currently undertaking a study in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to explore the purpose and need for improvements in the I-81 corridor. The results of this study, which are anticipated later this year, will determine the exact scope of the road and rail improvements to the corridor and address other funding issues.
“Federal funding for I-81 supports our on-going efforts to undertake multi-modal improvements to make the I-81 corridor safer and more efficient,” noted Doug Dalton of English Construction, a member of the STAR Solutions proposal team. “We look forward to finalizing our agreement with VDOT in the near future and to begin work on the corridor once certain milestones in the NEPA process have been achieved.”