McDonnell approves transportation bonds

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Gov. Bob McDonnell has approved the sale of $500 million in bonds to help boost the state’s six-year highway improvement program.

The money was originally passed under a $3 billion transportation bill in 2007. However, the bond sale was delayed because the Virginia Department of Transportation revenues could not guarantee that it could pay the debt service due to depressed revenues. TIGHTENED THAT UP

McDonnell also instructed VDOT to sell $293 million in bonds during fiscal year 2011 and $300 million each year from 2012 until 2016. McDonnell wants a total of $2.2 billion issued over the next six years.

The money will be used to complete projects that are underway, as well as start additional projects in the six-year plan.

Projects that will be funded by the bonds include:

Interstate 81 truck-climbing lanes (Staunton and Salem districts)
Lynnhaven Interchange on I-264 (Hampton Roads District)
Route 29 Gainesville Interchange on I-66 (Northern Virginia District)
Eleven bridge rehabilitations on I -95 (Richmond District)
Route 460 Connector (Bristol District)
Building a new interchange on Route 15 at Route 17 (Culpeper District)
Reconstruction of Route 610 (Fredericksburg District)
Route 265 Franklin Turnpike Connector (Lynchburg District)
Dulles Metrorail
Norfolk Light Rail

The bonds received an Aa1 rating from Moody’ and AA+ from both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s. This is the second-highest rating for all three groups.

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