The American Society of Civil Engineers yesterday released its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, giving Virginia an overall rating of D+. The ASCE issues the Report Card every four years, evaluating among other things roads, bridges, ports and mass transit. The report found 47 percent of Virginia's roads to be of poor or mediocre quality, 1,250 of bridges structurally deficient, 2,421 bridges functionally obsolete and found that driving on roads in need of repair costs Virginia motorists $1.344 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. The report also praised Virginia's leading-edge I-81 in-place pavement recycling project, which cut the time of the pavement replacement project to seven months from the one to two years that traditional pavement construction would have taken, reducing the traffic disruption to motorists and saving millions of dollars.
Speaking about Virginia's transportation infrastructure needs, Governor Bob McDonnell said, "This report unfortunately confirms what motorists and commuters already know all too well. As a state government, we have not funded an adequate transportation infrastructure for our citizens. This study found that nearly half of our roads are of poor or mediocre quality, costing drivers an average of more than $250 per year in repairs, on top of the cost of congestion that in Northern Virginia is the worst in the nation. Virginians are already paying dearly for the three-decade failure of Richmond to sufficiently and properly fund transportation in the Commonwealth. Thankfully, the historic plan that passed this year in the General Assembly, with broad bipartisan support, directly addresses this pressing issue. It is the first major transportation funding bill to pass the General Assembly in 27 years and it will help rebuild our roads after decades of inaction. The bill will ensure Virginians can get where they need to go faster and safer. As Moody's recognized earlier this month in rating the plan 'credit positive,' it makes Virginia the first state to address stagnant gas tax collections resulting from higher fuel efficiency standards.
Over the past three years, we have cut spending, audited and reformed VDOT, authorized new bonds, used surpluses, issued new public-private partnerships for toll roads, created the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, and dedicated two-thirds of all undesignated surplus funds to transportation. We have used every tool provided by law to leverage scarce dollars. As this report recognizes, we have received national recognition for using pavement recycling methods that save significant time and construction costs. Yet those actions were not sufficient to meet the mobility, economic development, and quality of life needs of the people of Virginia. This plan puts us on track to build and maintain a modern, dynamic transportation infrastructure in Virginia for years to come. This report demonstrates that we literally could not afford to wait any longer to take long overdue action to fix roads and rail in the Commonwealth. This session we got results. I thank the Republican and Democratic legislators who came together to make this happen."
The additional transportation funding in the plan passed by the General Assembly will in the next six years fund the reconstruction or replacement of 74 deficient bridges, interstate reconstructive paving on I-64, I-264, I-95, I-295 and I-81, high-priority road improvement projects state-wide and unpaved road needs in 59 localities. The plan will also fund transit projects statewide, including Amtrak service to Roanoke, rail to Dulles and numerous other mass transit projects in Virginia's most congested regions.
A list of recommended highway, rail and transit projects included in the "Virginia's Road to the Future" plan is available at http://www.varoadtothefuture.virginia.gov/TheProjects.cfm
The 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers report card for Virginia is available at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/a/#p/state-facts/virginia