State has $14 billion worth of transportation projects underway

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Virginia has $14 billion worth of transportation projects under construction or in the procurement process, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday. According to his office, many of the improvements were accelerated as a result of the governor’s $4 billion transportation package passed by the General Assembly in early 2011.  The projects include road and rail improvements, such as express lanes in Northern Virginia and a new midtown tunnel in Hampton Roads. 

“The commonwealth has maximized all resources, including significant private sector investment and ingenuity to build better roads that will reduce congestion, create jobs and promote economic development … “ McDonnell said in a statement.  “… The delivery of these projects and transportation services and the ongoing investment in transportation infrastructure is vital to keeping Virginia one of the best states in the country to live and run a business.”

Virginia fell this year from No. 1 to No. 3 in CNBC’s annual list of the best states for business. In scoring on 10 criteria, the state did not do well on infrastructure & transportation and economy, according to CNBC. 

McDonnell’s list cites a number of statewide projects including the 495 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. Scheduled to open by the end of the year, the project is being built mostly by private sector funding, totaling $1.4 billion. Another project, the $925 million, 95 Express Lanes, will contribute $1.5 billion to the state’s economy, McDonnell said, supporting more than 12,600 jobs over the construction period. 

The Midtown Tunnel project under construction in the Hampton Roads region will bring in more than $1 billion of construction works to be built by local companies, more than 500 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs created through local suppliers and vendors. “There are numerous other examples that clearly show Virginia is getting maximum value for each dollar that is invested in transportation,” the governor said.

An independent economic analysis by Chmura Economics showed that the governor’s $4 billion transportation package, once fully implemented, would grow Virginia’s economy by more than $13 billion and sustain an additional 104,000 jobs.

Other projects include:

• Dulles Metrorail - $5.7 billion.  The rail line is being extended for 23 miles from Arlington County to the Washington Dulles International Airport and beyond into Loudoun County.
• U.S. Route 460 Corridor Improvements Project, up to $1.7 billion (under procurement). The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is seeking private sector competition to finance and build 55 miles of new tolled roadway, located south of the existing Route 460. Construction could begin as early as next year. 
• Route 58 widening, $120 million. Construction will widen 8.2 miles of Route 58 between Meadows of Dan and Laurel Fork.  The road is expected to open to traffic by fall 2015.

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