Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Virginia is making significant advancements to improve transportation, with $14 billion worth of projects under construction or in the procurement process. Much of the improvements were jump-started or accelerated as a result of the governor's $4 billion transportation package passed by the General Assembly in early 2011. These projects include road and rail improvements that will keep traffic, jobs and business moving in Virginia and along the east coast.
"My administration has moved aggressively on transportation projects that will not only improve the quality of life for motorists and citizens, but also make Virginia a better place to work, start a business, live and visit," said McDonnell. "The commonwealth has maximized all resources, including significant private sector investment and ingenuity to build better roads that will reduce congestion, create jobs and promote economic development. In addition, traffic flow will improve with the innovative use of technology and smart phone applications, empowering motorists with real-time traffic information so they can make better travel decisions. The delivery of these projects and transportation services and the ongoing investment in transportation infrastructure is vital to keeping Virginia one of the best states in the country to live and run a business."
Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton added, "A critical component to the Governor's transportation initiative is partnering with the private sector to use their resources to finance and build - at their risk - high priority projects. This has allowed Virginia to build projects now when they are needed instead of waiting several years into the future."
An example is 495 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. Scheduled to open to traffic by the end of the year, the project is being built by mostly private sector funding, totaling $1.4 billion. Once completed, commuters will be able to get to their destination quicker in one of the most heavily traveled areas of the country.
During the McDonnell administration, the commonwealth's public investment of under $600 million is bringing in more than $3 billion of transportation improvements built under Virginia's Public Private Transportation Act. This law allows the commonwealth to partner with the private sector to finance and build projects.
"These projects are big job creators," said McDonnell. "The 95 Express Lanes project that just started construction in Northern Virginia this month will contribute $1.54 billion to the state's economy, supporting more than 12,600 jobs over the construction period. The Midtown Tunnel project under construction in the Hampton Roads region will bring in more than $1 billion of construction works to be built by local companies, more than 500 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs created through local suppliers and vendors. There are numerous other examples that clearly show Virginia is getting maximum value for each dollar that is invested in transportation."
An independent economic analysis by Chmura Economics showed once fully implemented, the governor's $4 billion transportation package would grow Virginia's economy by over $13 billion and sustain an additional 104,000 jobs.
Statewide Transportation Projects
$14 billion worth of projects being built across the state or in procurement include:
495 Express Lanes - $1.4 billion - Fourteen miles of new HOV lanes from the Springfield Interchange to north of the Dulles Toll Road will open by the end of this year. For the first time carpoolers can take the express lanes for free while drivers with one or two people can take the faster way by paying a toll.
95 Express Lanes - $925 million - Twenty-nine miles of Express Lanes from Garrisonville Road to the Springfield Interchange will tie directly to the new 495 Express Lanes providing for faster and seamless travel in Northern Virginia. Construction began this month and is scheduled for completion by early 2015.
Dulles Metrorail - $5.7 billion - The rail line is being extended for 23 miles from Arlington County to the Washington Dulles International Airport and beyond into Loudoun County. The first phase of project is scheduled for completion in July 2013. This will be an 11.7 mile section extending services from East Falls Church through four stations in Tysons Corner and one at Wiehle Avenue.
Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/Martin Luther King Extension - $2.1 billion -Construction has started on the project involving a new Midtown Tunnel, the rehabilitation of the existing Midtown Tunnel as well as the Downtown Tunnels, and the Martin Luther King Freeway extension. The project cost is $2.1 billion.
Hampton Roads and Central Virginia
U.S. Route 460 Corridor Improvements Project - up to $1.7 billion (under procurement) - The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is seeking private sector competition to finance and build a new Route 460 - 55 miles of new tolled roadway, located south of the existing Route 460. Route 460 will generate jobs and economic development, accommodate greater freight traffic from the Port of Virginia, expand westbound hurricane evacuation routes and enhance connections among the region's military installations. Construction could begin as early as next year.
Route 58 Widening - $120 million - Construction started to widen 8.2 miles of Route 58 between Meadows of Dan and Laurel Fork. The road is expected to open to traffic by fall 2015.
Coalfields Expressway - $3.8 million -Project involves preliminary engineering of the Pound Connector and Doe Branch sections of Coalfields Expressway. The Coalfields Expressway is a proposed four-lane highway stretching approximately 49 miles from Pound in Wise County through Dickinson and Buchanan counties to the West Virginia state line.
Statewide - $2 billion construction work underway, including:
Route 29 Bypass in the Charlottesville, valued at $136 million, will be a new 6.2-mile roadway from Route 29 just north of the South Fork Rivanna River to the Route 29/250 Bypass in Albemarle County. A design-build contract was awarded in June 2012.
I-81 truck climbing lanes are under construction in Montgomery County. This $75 million project will greatly improve safety.
In the Richmond area, eleven I-95 bridges are being restored to expand the life span of the bridges for at least 50 years.
There are numerous other projects not listed above. Go to http://www.virginiadot.org/ for more information on transportation improvements under way and in the planning stages.
Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank
The Governor also launched the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which issued $312 million in low interest loans to help build Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake, Gloucester Parkway and Pacific Boulevard Extension in Loudoun County and the 85 Connector/Route 460 Corridor Improvement project. The bank provides a resource that public- and private-sector entities can use to finance projects and accelerate construction. This plays a major role in driving the economic vitality of Virginia and getting citizens back to work.
Real-Time Traffic Information
VDOT is using technology to save time and money. The next generation of 511 traffic information allows motorists to download a free mobile app that gives them real-time traffic information, visit the new 511 website or call the improved 511 phone system. The system has experienced a 60 percent increase in use. Electronic message signs are also displayed along some interstates that give real-time traffic times. This information gives motorists control over their commute. Go to http://www.511virginia.org/ to get real-time traffic updates.
Rail and Public Transportation
With the support from McDonnell and the General Assembly, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation has been equipped to advance rail and public transportation, increase accountability of transit grantees and improve the connectedness of transportation services in the commonwealth.
Virginia Department of Transportation - http://www.virginiadot.org/
Traffic Information - http://www.511virginia.org/
Department of Rail and Public Transportation - http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/