Virginia allocates $1 billion for infrastructure projects
- July 20, 2009
Virginia has allocated $1 billion of $4.8 billion in federal stimulus money to 250 infrastructure projects. That means more dollars for paving, road construction, bridge repairs, urban transit and rail improvements across the state.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s office announced today that $123 million will go for highway safety and construction projects, $116 million for bridge replacement and repair, $114 million for pavement restoration and $96 million for road construction associated with job shifts occurring as part of the relocation of military bases.
The infusion, though, makes only a dent in a $3.7 billion backlog in needed repairs for aging bridges and another $1 billion in interstate pavement repairs.
“Our impression is that it’s balancing a lot of different interests and geography,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth in Northern Virginia. “Our concern stands that the state has a significant backlog in maintenance, including the $3.7 billion in structurally deficient bridges.” In a report in June ranking the states on the effectiveness of stimulus spending, the coalition joined with Smart Growth America in giving Virginia low marks on maintenance, but high marks for investing in rail. “It terms of taking some dollars and spending on an energy-efficient alternative to traditional road construction, Virginia ranked well nationally,” said Schwartz.
In this allocation, $62 million is earmarked for rail improvements.
The governor’s statement did not provide a lump sum figure on new jobs that might be created as a result of the projects. It did cite an example of 23 jobs generated by two road paving projects: 14 jobs with the $2.9 million repaving of Routes 360 and 460 in Dinwiddie County and 9 jobs associated with $4.6 million worth of pavement restoration on several roads in Culpeper.
Another $116 million will go to regional projects selected by regional metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), charged with setting transportation priorities in urban areas.
For instance, of the $41 million earmarked for the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, $3 million will go for repaving about 43 lane miles in Chesapeake. “Because of the time frame of the stimulus act, you have to have projects that are ready to go and can be completed within 3 years of the act,” explains Camelia Ravanbakht, deputy executive director of Hampton Road’s TPO.
The Richmond MPO will get $20 million, and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, $51.2 million. Another big chunk, $184 million, is going to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, whose costs Virginia shares with Maryland and Washington, D.C. To see a complete list of the American Restoration and Recovery Act projects, go to http://www.governor.virginia.gov.