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News Bits and Pieces -
November 18, 2004
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has approved Virginia’s long-range transportation plan called VTrans 2025. It is Virginia’s planning effort to create a more integrated, convenient and efficient transportation system that incorporates all modes including highway, transit, rail, air, pedestrian, port and bicycle facilities.
“The 2025 vision for the Commonwealth is a transportation system that is safe, strategic and seamless,” said Transportation Secretary Whitt Clement. “Before we can realize this vision, however, the state must adopt policies that ensure adequate investment in the transportation network. Currently, the gap between needs and investment is growing at a distressing rate.”
According to the VTrans 2025 report, transportation needs for all modes over the 2005-2025 period are expected to exceed $203 billion. Best estimates of available revenues are $95 billion, resulting in unmet needs exceeding $108 billion.
By 2014, state highway funds will be insufficient to match federal highway funds, preventing the state from making full use of available federal dollars and reducing the overall amount of funds. By 2018, all of state construction funds will be used for maintenance. Federal highway funds will have to be used for maintenance beginning in 2019, further decreasing the funds available for construction purposes. For highways alone, a minimum of $925 million per year is needed to prevent transfers of construction dollars to the maintenance fund.
Mr. Clement added, “Although investment in transportation is crucial, we must continue to seek new ways to be more efficient and effective in how we use our limited transportation dollars. VTrans2025 identifies policies and procedures that will help guide Virginia through the next 20 years.”
The report identifies the need to:
Increase transportation revenues, increase support for transit and establish a sustainable source of funding for rail.
Improve the alignment of transportation and land-use decision-making by considering state versus local roles and legislatively address the transportation/land-use conflict.
Give priority to projects that connect travel modes and incorporate transit, pedestrian, bike, and rail-friendly design features in major reconstruction and new construction projects.
Use objective criteria for all modes to measure and compare the merits of proposed projects.
Establish a Commission to make specific recommendations on how to meet the Commonwealth’s long-term transportation funding needs and address other legislative issues.
The General Assembly directed the CTB to develop a multimodal long-range transportation plan with a statewide focus. Mr. Clement established the VTrans2025 team made up of the four state transportation agencies. The public also participated in developing the plan through a series of meetings.
With CTB approval of the plan, it will go to Gov. Mark Warner and the General Assembly.
The report is available online at www.vtrans.org.
The Virginia Engineer © IIr Associates 2005