$13.1 billion earmarked for transportation improvements
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has announced $13.1 billion for transportation improvements in Virginia during the next six years that he says are the result of public input.
After a series of pubic hearings, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) made adjustments to a six-year program that allocates money for highway, road, bridge, rail, transit, bicycle/pedestrian paths and other transportation improvements during a six-year period beginning July 1. The breakdown is $9.9 billion for highway construction and $3.2 billion for rail and public transportation.
“When the draft program was made available to the public in April, I directed Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and the Commonwealth Transportation Board to ramp up public involvement by getting out into the communities and holding hearings in nine regions across the state to solicit public input,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
According to the governor’s office, nearly 400 people attended and an additional 1,620 oral and written comments were collected.
From that information, the CTB adjusted the program to reflect priorities expressed by local officials, residents and the traveling public.
Some of the project highlights include:
· Widening eight miles of the most congested stretches of I-64 on the Peninsula,
· Extending the Tide light rail system into Virginia Beach,
· Providing two new passenger trains from Richmond to Norfolk,
· Making safety improvements and repairs along I-81 including Exit 14 in Abingdon and Exit 150 in Roanoke,
· Developing I-66 improvements, extending the use of shoulders on I-495 and tie-in to the Express Lanes and improving the Route 28 interchange in Northern Virginia,
· Expanding Virginia Railway Express (VRE) platforms and adding the VRE Potomac Shores station in Prince William County,
· Providing a package of improvements to Route 29 through Charlottesville, which replaces the proposed western bypass,
· Funding a second passenger train to Lynchburg
The CTB will work in collaboration with localities to set weights for key factors like congestion mitigation, economic development, accessibility, safety and environmental quality. Specific projects will then be screened and selected for funding beginning in July 2016.
“Key priorities in the program approved today and future updates will continue to be improving the existing infrastructure, including rebuilding aging bridges and roads across the state,” said Charlie Kilpatrick, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).