Gov. McDonnell Announces Funding for Transportation Projects

by ARLnow.com December 7, 2010 at 9:09 am 3,462 43 Comments

The Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project is among the projects receiving funding under a new transportation push by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

At a meeting of Northern Virginia elected officials and transportation planners yesterday, McDonnell announced that VDOT will advertise some $1.1 billion in new construction and maintenance projects during the first six months of fiscal year 2011.

The spending will create 33,900 jobs and generate $2.83 billion in total economic activity, according to the governor’s office.

McDonnell says his administration has been working to unclog a backlog of projects in VDOT’s pipeline. The governor noted that now is the time to invest in new infrastructure, since financing costs are at near-record lows.

One question that remains is how McDonnell plans on funding the slew of new transportation projects. He has pledged not to impose new taxes.

  • tdot

    On the question on how the State will fund these projects, I believe that an internal audit of VDOT uncovered almost $1 Billion in unspent dollars.

    • mehoo

      There is a dispute about whether that audit was done properly. That money may already be committed.

  • Jason S

    Extremely low interest rates are helpful for this, but I still get dizzy thinking about the debt the county and state are accumulating.

    • PurpleFlipFlops

      Who cares? They won’t have to pay for it. Their children and grandchildren will.

      • mehoo

        Our children and grandchildren will also benefit from it, with the roads and schools built for them to enjoy.

        • Andy

          Enjoy? Roads? HA HA HA HA!

          • SoArlRes

            +1. Does anyone actually enjoy driving anymore? Let’s give the kids and grandkids something they can use for generations: better mass transit. Think NYC subway system.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, enjoy wasn’t the best word. And yes, I agree, they should have more mass transit and will benefit from it.

        • Jason S

          This argument is silly, because we are spending their money and just assuming that is how they want it spent. Paying with minimal debt would slow down development, but it would also slow down debt and let each generation choose how they wish to spend their tax revenues. Besides, don’t we have a moral obligation to leave our communities in better shape for the next generation? Why not think of it as a gift instead of spending the money for them before they even collect it.

          • mehoo

            Of course we’re assuming they want it spent that way! That’s our responsibility. What, you want us to wait until they grow up to decide whether to spend money to build them a school and get educated?

            You have to make decisions now that affect the future. That’s normal. And debt is sometimes a good, responsible, smart way to do that. Not always, and not too much debt, but yes, debt.

  • mehoo

    “One question that remains is how McDonnell plans on funding the slew of new transportation projects. He has pledged not to impose new taxes.”

    He’ll find one of the usual Republican gimmicks, now that his bizarre liquor store thing is dead.

    • Burger

      My guess is the same way the Arlington County Board figures they will pay for the Columbia Pike Trolley by responding “Pfft, let them eat cake.”

      • mehoo

        Yeah, the trolley won’t help revitalize the economy on the Pike, leading to more revenue.

    • TGEoA

      Privatization of liquor stores is far from dead.

      • mehoo

        We’ll see.

        Dead or not, it’s silly to consider it a revenue source. It loses money in the long run.

        • Burger

          Please explain to me how selling alcohol is a government function. The government’s role in society isn’t to act like a profit center.

          Further, the 48 million dollar hole amounts to a grand whopping total of .0013 of Virginia’s Annual State budget. Gee….how will we ever make that up?

          • mehoo

            Oh, I agree completely that the government should get out of the liquor business – just don’t pretend like it’s going to make the government any money and try to use it as some kind of financing scheme to avoid real solutions, like McDonnell is trying to do.

          • mehoo

            Burger, you are aware that McDonnell’s big scheme is to somehow make money by privatizing liquor stores, right? That’s his big idea. Awesome leadership – a temporary budget gimmick that actually loses money in the long run.

  • Lacey Forest

    Same way the federal Republicans will pay for extending both unemployment benefits and tax breaks for the wealthy: magic.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Fantasy you can believe in.

    • Or Democrats and the Health Care bill…..

    • Andrew

      Republicans caring about the unemployed? Tax breaks that are only for the wealthy? What universe do you live in?

  • Henry McMickens

    “Transportation”? Just sounds like roads.

  • mehoo

    The news story in the link mentions the state surplus. Well, that’s mostly due to federal stimulus money!

  • Jeff Miller

    The Court House/Rte. 50 project is much-needed and long delayed. The Governor’s announcement is most welcome.

    That interchange is hazardous and confusing. And it’s becoming more and more congested, and the County continues to force more high-rises into the Court House area, which means more traffic and more clogged intersections.

    When I moved to the neighborhood (early 90’s), I was told the dangerous Rte. 50 intersection would be fixed “within 2 years”. Nearly 20 years later, we’re still waiting. Congrats to Gov. McDonnell’s team for finally getting this overdue project started.

  • AllenB

    Does anyone know exactly what the improvements will be? The work now is just to move the utilities so the improvements can be made but I’ve never seen anything on what the actual improvements will be.

    • Jeff Miller

      It’s a major project to redesign both the Court House and 10th St. interchanges. There would be new service lanes on Rte. 50 (in both directions) for entering/exiting traffic, and traffic signals. Court House Rd. would be reconfigured to eliminate the confusing crossover. A bicycle trail would be incorporated.

      There’s a narrative description on the County site – http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/page69233.aspx

    • cj
      • Bender

        Oh good. It looks like there is going to be an increase in concrete!!

        And if they are adding a service lane, we’ll most likely get the benefit of reducing Rt. 50 from three lanes down to two lanes.

  • cj

    This is not a “new” project. It has been planned and scheduled for several years, and is one of the few Arlington-supported VDOT projects that has stayed in the pipelines. Utility relocation work is already under way. McDonnell is claiming more credit than he’s entitled to. At best he should be applauded briefly for not stalling the work. Now, if he moves forward on replacing the rickety Washington Blvd. bridge over Columbia Pike, I might actually cheer.

    • Lou

      Agree. The real applause for that project should be for the County Board for supporting more road infrastructure.

      I won’t hold my breath.

      • mehoo

        What new road infrastructure do we need, other than improvements like this one? You want another interstate?

        • Lou

          Well, they are widening 66. That’s good too, but not necessarily new.

          But I was responding to the 50-Court House Road interchange project. And the County deserves credit for supporting that. Do you disagree?

          • Jeff Miller

            Yes, the County deserves some credit here, too. Arlington helped to develop the project design, and has been supportive. (It’s a welcome contrast from Arlington’s role in trying to block other highway improvements.)

            The 50/Court House project has been “ready to go” for years, but was delayed by VDOT funding issues under several Governors (both parties). McDonnell is moving to get many long-delayed projects finally started, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

          • mehoo

            Yes, I agree. I disagree about widening I-66, but that’s another matter. The County requested this fix on Rte. 50. So do you think we need anything else in “new” road infrastucture, meaning newly built roads, not just improvements?

          • Lou

            No, nothing else new at the moment. I think the McDonnell administration has struck a good balance between new and maintenance projects.

  • JimPB

    Yes, repair and build roads and bridges and baths for walkers and bicyclists now. This will help get Americans back to work (and construction workers have been hard hit). With interest rates so low, it makes sense to borrow for this work. BUT, there’s no free ride: so designate taxes** and/or road use charges to retire the bonds (pay off the principal and interest) within the life of the construction work.

    *** An increased gas tax would be appropriate, indeed, desirable, to pay the costs. This would also encourage the purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles and fuel efficient driving (Take note: China is way ahead of us in its requirements for fuel efficient vehicles. We need to think and act as smart as the Chinese in this and other ways if we don’t want to cede them the status of the world”s dominant economy and status as THE superpower.) and reduce the dollars we send overseas (the bulk of our petroleum comes from elsewhere, a situation that drilling more at home will not materially change).

    The rationale for building and repairing roads and bridges and paths also applies to water and sewage lines and plants.

    • SUV Driver

      I have a constitutional right to waste as much gas as I can afford, which doesn’t include socialist gas taxes.

      • mehoo

        Yeah! It’s socialism to expect you to pay for the roads you drive on! Get real.

      • Stefan Sittig

        LOL. I wish Americans would get real and realize that the rest of the World pays WAY MORE TAXES than we do, and that’s cause they realize that taxes pay for the roads they drive on, the schools their children attend and a multitude of other services.

    • Stefan Sittig

      Yes, repair and build roads and bridges and baths for walkers and bicyclists now

      baths? Do you mean bathrooms? Really? I’ve seen similar attemps in CoHe and other DC/VA neighborhoods on this, and all those bathrooms end up being is breeding ground for drug trade, prostitution and illegal sexual activity.

      • mehoo

        So are streets.

  • jazzy

    Very thankful for the miracle after the election/stimulus/recovery funds! awesome, I’m ready to get some of that funding!


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