Virginia road budget faces $851.5 million cut

| 11/25/2009

Transportation revenues are not flowing bountifully in Virginia. As a result, the state Department of Transportation has proposed slashing $851.5 million from the six-year transportation plan.

Since spring 2008, state highway money has declined by $4.6 billion, which is forcing VDOT to make adjustments to its spending plans.

To reach the $851.5 million in savings there are cuts being sought in areas that include roadway maintenance ($277 million), highway construction ($255 million), administrative services ($115 million) and mass transit ($46 million).

The proposed cuts during the next six years will require approval from the Commonwealth Transportation Board as early as next month. After the board acts, VDOT will make final decisions on how to reduce spending.

In addition to cutting back on paving projects and maintenance, the transportation department also plans to ease administrative costs this year, reduce payments to localities that are responsible for the upkeep of their roads, and lay off more workers. 

To help the state cope with fewer funds available for transportation work, Virginia is counting on getting $5.5 billion in federal matching funds through 2015. However, states are responsible for putting up a portion of their own money to secure the federal funds. Virginia officials say they don’t even have that money.

When Virginia’s Governor-elect Bob McDonnell is sworn in to office in January and the General Assembly convenes the 2010 session, they will be confronted with how to eat into the road funding gap, which gets wider as lawmakers wrestle with how to replenish the fund.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Virginia in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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