Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Virginia Budget Cuts to Affect Roads and Transportation Projects

According to a VDOT news release, Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer today announced that state and federal transportation revenues are projected to decrease between $2.1 and $2.6 billion over the next six years. And Homer said that "The weak economy and reduced state and federal transportation revenues require that the existing transportation budgets and the Board’s Six –Year Improvement Program be further reduced.”

VDOT’s plan includes reducing service and staffing levels throughout the commonwealth, particularly through reductions in residency offices, senior management and repair shops. VDOT will also evaluate services provided throughout the commonwealth including roadside maintenance, lighting, mowing, signage and other activities.

Meanwhile, according to a Fairfax Times online article, "VDOT Commissioner David Ekern said Oct. 15 that the cuts to an already-slim budget mean that the state must make structural changes to its transportation department, including eliminating about 900 full-time and 1,000 contract employees."

The paper reports that safety will remain the department's top priority, but the cuts will mean less money to fill potholes, plow streets, maintain rest stops, mow rights of way and conduct other smaller tasks.

The Times article also says reports that once agency staffing is reduced, the already lean six-year road construction program, which was reduced by $1.1 billion in June, will have to be further cut, a process that "will have significant impacts in every city, every county and every town in the commonwealth," Homer said. He expects a new draft of the cuts will be ready in mid-November. Northern Virginia's mega-projects – the beltway toll lanes, the Wilson Bridge expansion and the Dulles rail extension – have dedicated funding and will not be impacted by the cuts.

To learn more about the updated state transportation revenues and VDOT’s response to the revenue downturn, visit

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