Virginia's transportation board adjusts six-year improvement program

News Virginia Department of Transportation July 05, 2006
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Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) recently approved final adjustments to the six-year improvement program for FY 2007-2012. Adjustments were made to reflect the latest appropriation of the state budget by the General Assembly. The budget includes an additional $229 million from the general fund for transportation. Those funds will go to paying debt, which frees up some funding for projects.

"The additional funding lessens program reductions, allowing Virginia to fund critical maintenance and safety needs," said Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer. "Virginia will maintain crucial transit services for those who have no other means of transportation, focus on transportation improvements required by BRAC impacts and support localities willing to assume more responsibility of their transportation programs."

Homer said that while critical transportation services and programs will continue, there remains a $610 million funding shortage for highway improvements to the primary, secondary and urban systems. Declining growth in key transportation funding sources, rising asphalt and other costs and growing maintenance needs lead to shrinking transportation improvements to the core road systems.

With the budget adjustments, funding reductions shrink from 47% to 36%—or from $795 million to $610 million—for the primary, secondary and urban highway improvements across the state.

State money provided to transit capital projects decline sharply. The portion of state funds used to match federal dollars for transit projects will drop to 22%, the lowest in the program's history, an approximate 50% reduction over previous funding levels.

The CTB also adjusted the final transportation budget—from $4.2 billion to $4.3 billion—for FY 07 (July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2007).

The budget allocates $4.3 billion for all transportation costs, including maintenance and construction of Virginia's highway system, operations and administration, debt payments and support to ports, aviation, rail and public transportation. After maintenance, debt and other priorities are funded from the budget, remaining revenues go to construction projects in the six-year program.

The DRPT budget includes $506 million for rail and public transportation in FY 07. This includes funding for transit improvements, commuter assistance programs and rail programs. Other key budget items include the purchase of new transit buses and facilities, Rail Enhancement Fund projects and the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project.

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