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General Assembly Update

January 24, 2011

VTCA Lobbying Strongly for Additional Funding for Roads

This past Friday, the Governor introduced his transportation funding bills in the General Assembly. A broad bipartisan coalition is sponsoring Governor McDonnell’s Omnibus Transportation Funding Bill in the Senate and House of Delegates. In the Senate, nearly half of the entire body has signed up to sponsor the bill. Seventeen members have signed their name to the measure, with five Democrats among the group. The Senate bill’s chief patrons are Senators William Wampler (R-Bristol) and Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and President pro tempore of the body. In the House of Delegates, Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) will serve as chief patron of the legislation. The bills have been introduced as HB 2527 in the House and SB 1446 in the Senate.
Speaking about the early, strong bipartisan support, Governor McDonnell remarked, “There are no Democratic or Republican roads. Our citizens need new roads to get to work on time, and home to their families a little earlier. Our businesses need new roads to expand their operations, create good-paying jobs and get our economy moving again. We were all sent to Richmond to accomplish big things for our citizens, and now is the time to get new roads built in the Commonwealth. I look forward to working with the legislature to get this plan passed in the weeks ahead. It is time to get people and businesses moving again in Virginia.”

In addition to the chief patrons, the following Senators have signed on as bill patrons:

  • Sen. Edd Houck (D-Spotsylvania)
  • Sen. Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield)
  • Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover)
  • Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
  • Sen. Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg)
  • Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg)
  • Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk)
  • Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Tazewell)
  • Sen. Roscoe Reynolds (D-Martinsville)
  • Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Moneta)
  • Sen. Walter Stosch (R-Glen Allen)
  • Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland)
  • Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester)
  • Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach)
  • Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian)

The Governor’s Omnibus Transportation Funding Bill will:

  • Create the “Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank” (VTIB) to multiply transportation dollars. The bank will be initially capitalized with $150 million from the 2010 budget surplus and $250 million from VDOT audit-identified funds. The bank will reach $1 billion total during the McDonnell Administration.
  • Modify Virginia Code to authorize Direct GARVEE bonds. This would allow the Commonwealth to issue up to $1.1 billion in direct GARVEE bonds and utilize toll credits for state match.
  • Accelerate the sales of bonds from 2007 transportation legislation to a maximum of $600 million per year, providing ability to issue up to $1.8 billion in bonds during remainder of the Administration.
  • Increase the availability of revenue sharing, specifically eliminating the $1 million cap per project and $50 million program maximum.

All told, the plan will inject $4 billion into Virginia’s transportation network over just the next three years. 900 projects have been identified that can begin construction within the next three years if the legislation is approved, including:

  • Widening of I-66 for Gainesville to Haymarket as well as the installation of an active traffic management system on I-66 to dynamically control lanes in order to reduce congestion
  • Widening a key section of Rolling Road in Fairfax County to address the expected traffic impacts of BRAC
  • Major interchange improvements on I-64, I-81 and I-95, in Frederick, Augusta, Stafford, and Louisa counties
  • Widening Route 7 in Loudoun County
  • Rebuilding the Route 460 Southgate Avenue intersection in Montgomery County
  • Widening Lynnhaven Parkway, Indian River Road and Witch Duck Road in Virginia Beach, as well as replacing the Lesner Bridge
  • Widening Route 28 in Fairfax and Prince William counties
  • Several major projects throughout the Route 58 Corridor, a critical link for southern and western Virginia
  • Advancing PPTA projects such as the widening of Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake; the constructing of a new tube for the Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth; advancing the HOV/HOT lanes on I95/395 in Northern Virginia

A complete list of all projects supported by this legislation can be found here: Project List

VTCA was the leading supporter of the Governor’s funding legislation and continues to lobby hard for the funding legislation. While it does not address the long term funding issue, it will be a substantial investment the will advance over 850 road construction projects over the next three years, put our people back to work, reduce congestion and improve economic development opportunities throughout the Commonwealth. Since VTCA stepped out to support the funding package more than 40 other organizations have followed suite, including: Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance; Old Dominion Highway Contractors Association; Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance; Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce; Home Builders Association of Virginia; Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; Northern Virginia Technology Council; Virginia Railroad Association; Virginia Association of Realtors; Heavy Construction Contractors Association; Prince William Chamber of Commerce; American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia; Hampton Roads Transit; Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate; Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce; Associated Builders and Contractors-Virginia Chapter; Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate; Northern Virginia Association of Realtors; Roanoke Regional Chamber; Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association; NAIOP Northern Virginia, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; Arlington Chamber of Commerce; Virginia Asphalt Association; Virginia Transit Association; Associated General Contractors of Virginia; Springfield Chamber of Commerce; Washington Airports Task Force; Virginia Ready Mix Concrete Association; American Concrete Pavement Association-Mid Atlantic Chapter; Northern Virginia Building Industry Association; Precast Concrete Association of Virginia; Dulles Area Transportation Association; Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce; Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce; Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce; Committee for Dulles; Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce; Hampton Roads Partnership; Virginia Automobile Dealers Association; AAA Mid-Atlantic.

VTCA’s Virginians for Better Transportation now has a Voter Voice system in place that makes it easy for people to send an e-mail supporting transportation funding to their legislators. Attached is the link to the site. All people have to do is type in their name and address and the system will automatically identify their Delegate and Senator and generate a pro transportation funding e-mail to them. It takes less than 5 minutes. Support Transportation Funding: Contact your Legislator

Our goal is to generate hundreds of e-mails to legislators supporting the Governor’s transportation funding package. Please take a few minutes to send this to people in your organization to use.