Speaking to more than 700 hundred industry and transportation agency professionals during the 2011 Governor’s Transportation Conference in Norfolk, Governor Bob McDonnell outlined his transportation policy and funding plans for the upcoming 2012 General Assembly Session. The governor called for changes in laws governing the allocation of future surpluses to transportation, dedicating portions of revenue growth attributable to transportation infrastructure projects to transportation, increasing the portion of sales tax dedicated to transportation, the establishment of an Interstate 85 Connector Economic Development and Promotion Zone to encourage businesses to invest in Virginia and ship through Virginia ports, and the advancement of Virginia’s commercial space flight programs. The governor’s new proposals follow the successful passage of his 2011 transportation agenda, which put the most new funding into roads and rail in the state in 25 years.
“Transportation and economic development and prosperity are inextricably linked,” said Governor McDonnell. “Whether it’s the infrastructure needed to move people and goods, or certain transportation-related industries poised for major growth and job creation, we must continue to make progress in improving our transportation networks if Virginia is to remain economically competitive. During my administration, we have made much progress, but we still have much more to do. That is why I am following up on last year’s historic $4 billion transportation funding package with an aggressive transportation program to continue to get Virginia out of gridlock and spur our economic recovery through job creation, forward-thinking investments, and promotion of Virginia’s resources to attract additional private-sector development.”
Virginia has made significant advances in transportation under the McDonnell administration. These include, among others:
“While the governor’s transportation package, which passed with broad bi-partisan support this year, set the framework for investing $4 billion over three years—the largest investment in decades—Virginia must continue its focus on transportation to ensure future generations can depend upon our transportation network to move the goods and services necessary to keep the Commonwealth thriving,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “It is all about investing in our transportation network now to create jobs and help Virginia recover from the struggling economy. Last year’s legislation enabled us to accelerate the issuance of $1.8 billion in previously authorized transportation bonds at a time when VDOT is seeing near historically low interest rates, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board will issue $1.1 billion in federally backed direct GARVEE bonds to better leverage our federal transportation dollars to support major congestion reducing PPTA projects. The newly created Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank will help leverage other local and private-sector capital for transportation projects through the issuance of low interest rate loans. Because of these efforts, nearly 900 project phases are moving forward and thousands of jobs have been supported in Virginia.”
An independent economic analysis by Chmura Economics showed that once fully implemented, last year’s transportation package would grow the Virginia economy by over $13 billion and sustain an additional 104,000 jobs. This year’s package will build upon that impact.
2012 Transportation Plan Highlights
The governor’s proposed transportation plan for 2012 includes the following revenue-enhancements and policies to promote transportation investment:
The governor will announce additional proposals and more detail of this year’s transportation package over the next month leading up to 2012 General Assembly session.