Governor McDonnell Announces Additional Components of Transportation Agenda
– Proposals Include Tax Credits for Rail and Barge Use, VDOT Reforms, Dedicated Portion of Local Sales Tax for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Transportation Projects, and nearly 900 Potential Projects Released –
In December Governor Announced $4 Billion in Transportation Funding Over Next Three Years Through Creation of a New Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, $300 Million through Privatization of ABC, and Issuance of $1.1 Billion in Direct GARVEE Bonds and Acceleration of $1.8 Billion in Previously Authorized Transportation Bonds
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced additional components of his transportation improvement agenda today at a morning press conference at the State Capitol. The new initiatives include a tax credit for the usage of barge and rail to transport cargo, and a bill that will grant flexibility to the VDOT Commissioner to find and create efficiencies and flexibilities within VDOT and in the overall transportation system. The Governor is proposing to infuse a minimum of $300 million into the new Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank through the privatization of ABC, adding to the $400 million from audit proceeds and surplus. Legislation will also be introduced to dedicate 0.25% of the discretionary sales tax generated within Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia to transportation improvements in those regions. This will generate a combined $140 million a year for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads projects.
In December, Governor McDonnell announced the first half of his overall transportation plan. The proposals included the creation of a $1 billion Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and utilization of $1.1 billion worth of GARVEE bonds to speed up transportation projects. The plan also includes the accelerated sale of $1.8 billion in state transportation bonds that were previously authorized by the General Assembly in 2007. Over the next three years, these proposals will inject $4 billion into transportation, which will leverage up to $6 billion worth of Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) projects. As part of today's press conference the Governor announced nearly 900 projects statewide that will be funded due to the implementation of these proposals. A link to a full list of the projects can be found below. Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senator William Wampler (R-Bristol) will be chief patrons this legislation in the General Assembly this session. Also included in the Governor's proposals are a constitutional amendment to protect the Commonwealth Transportation Fund and a tax credit to provide employees flexibility to telework.
Thirty-seven of the leading organizations representing Virginia's transportation construction industry, as well as business associations, and chambers of commerce across the state have announced their support for the Governor's transportation funding plan. Many attended today's event in support of the Governor's transportation efforts. A complete list of the groups can also be found at the bottom of this release.
In Wednesday's State of the Commonwealth speech, Governor McDonnell spoke on the immediate need to address deficiencies in our transportation system, linking it to our prospects for future economic prosperity, stating, "Job creation will not be sustainable without a transportation system that is reliable. Transportation helps drive economic growth, and for too long Virginia has been stuck in neutral. Our failure to address our growing transportation needs is a bipartisan one. Our population has grown to over 8 million. VDOT manages the nation's third largest road network with 57,867 miles of roads, and nearly 2 million Virginia jobs in leading industries are fully dependent o the state's transportation network."
He continued, "I'm asking all of you to support a plan that pumps billions into roads, creates tens of thousands of new jobs, adds no new debt, starts work now, and doesn't raise taxes. This plan will fund major public private partnership projects such as a new Midtown Tunnel tube in Norfolk; the extension of HOV/HOT Lanes on I95/395 and the widening of I-66 in Northern Virginia; work on a critical section of the Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia; as well as widening and improving of multiple sections of Route 58, an important link for southern and western Virginia. All told this plan, we believe, can fund nearly 900 road, rail and transit projects across the Commonwealth. Every major business and transportation group in the state has endorsed our plan. I'm asking you to do so as well. And I thank Speaker Bill Howell and Senator William Wampler for sponsoring this critical legislation. It is time we reformed VDOT and built new roads, transit, rail and bridges in Virginia. This plan will. And I ask for your support."
The Governor made additional comments at today's event, noting "The time to build new roads and bridges is now. Interest rates and construction costs are at an all time low; we're taking advantage of this and taxpayers from all regions of the Commonwealth will benefit. Our proposals will dramatically speed up the construction of new roads and bridges, ease congestion, and increase job-creation and economic development efforts statewide. Nearly 900 projects will benefit from our proposals, and Virginians will get to work and back home again as a result."
Speaking at the press conference, Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) noted, "I commend Governor McDonnell and his team for putting together a comprehensive transportation reform and revitalization package. Transportation has long been one of the Commonwealth's major challenges. It impacts not only our economic competitiveness, but our citizens' every day quality of life. I look forward to working on and refining these proposals as we move forward to maximize Virginia's ability to get traffic moving and create good jobs."
Senator William Wampler (R-Bristol) added, "The Governor's plan to accelerate the sale of previously authorized CPR bonds, issue federally backed direct GARVEEs, and create a Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank is an innovative approach that doesn't saddle Virginians with further tax burdens."
Additional Components of Governor McDonnell's 2011 Transportation Agenda:
- Retain 0.25% of discretionary sales tax generated within Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia to transportation improvements in those regions. Delegate Rust (R-Fairfax) and Senator McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
- Pass a constitutional amendment to permanently protect the Commonwealth Transportation Fund from transfers to the General Fund. Delegate Oder (R-Newport News)
- Enable allocations from the Rail Enhancement Fund to be used as matching funds for federal grants to support rail projects. Delegate Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)
- Transferring the administration of the motor vehicle rental tax from DMV to the Department of Taxation. Delegate Brink (D-Arlington)and Senator Stosch (R-Henrico)
- Providing for the issuance of special license plates for businesses. Delegate Brink (D-Arlington)
- Privatize the retail operations of the Alcohol Beverage Control and generate an initial $300 million to go into the Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Senator Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and Senator Watkins (R-Chesterfield)
- Provide a tax credit to employers for expenses incurred in allowing employees to telework pursuant to a signed telework agreement. An employer would be eligible for a credit of up to $1,200 per teleworking employee, depending on the number of days per month an employee will telework. The total credit amount any one employer may take for 2012 and 2013 is $50,000. The aggregate amount of tax credits that will be issued is capped at $1 million annually for taxable year 2012 and 2013. Delegate Comstock (R-Fairfax) and Senator Herring (D-Loudoun)
- Consolidate the duties of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission into one organization. Governor McDonnell will provide additional funding to the newly consolidated Northern Virginia Transportation Authority through his funding proposals. Delegate Albo (R-Fairfax)
- Amend the powers and duties of the CTB by clarifying that local roads in counties outside the state secondary highway system are local roads, and not part of the state system, increasing the limitation on contract values that the Commissioner and the Director of DRPT may let, eliminating the duty of the CTB to regulate outdoor theatres, providing for the updating of the Statewide Transportation Plan every four years instead of 5, and repealing the section that allows the CTB to designate its employees as special police officers. Delegate Rust (R-Fairfax) and Senator Wagner (R-Virginia Beach)
- Reduce bureaucratic procurement regulations to reduce costs and create new efficiencies by eliminating the requirement to advertise Requests for Proposals in the newspaper and increasing initial contract terms for environmental, location and design, and inspection work. Senator Stosch (R-Henrico)
- Amending the powers of the VDOT Commissioner to give him more flexibility in structuring agency personnel, reduce project delivery times, and streamline reporting requirements. The proposals include eliminating the requirement for a Deputy Commissioner for the environment, transportation and regulatory affairs, allowing the Commissioner to transfer, abandon or discontinue roads and sell surplus right-of-way associated with a construction project without Commonwealth Transportation Board approval, and allowing VDOT to submit one comprehensive annual report. Delegate Oder (R-Newport News) and Senator Watkins (R-Powhatan)
- Grant a $50 per container income tax credit for any company which ships cargo containers via barge or rail. This proposal will reduce emissions and congestion along the Interstate 64 Corridor in Hampton Roads. Senator McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
The Governor's Previously Announced Transportation Proposals:
- Omnibus Transportation Funding Plan. Speaker Howell (R-Stafford) and Senator Wampler (R-Bristol)
- Direct $150 Million to transportation from budget surplus. These one-time funds will go to the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
- Create "Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank" (VTIB) to multiply transportation dollars.
- Capitalize Bank with $150 million from surplus and $250 million from audit-identified funds; Goal is to provide an initial $400 million and $1 billion total during Administration.
- Modify Virginia Code to authorize Direct GARVEE bonds. This would allow the Commonwealth to issue up to $1.1 billion in direct GARVEE bonds and utilize toll credits for state match.
- Accelerate the sales of bonds from 2007 transportation legislation to a maximum of $600 million per year, providing ability to issue up to $1.8 billion in bonds during remainder of the Administration.
- Increase the availability of Revenue Sharing, specifically eliminating the $1 million cap per project and $50 million program maximum.
*The press release from the December transportation policy announcement can be found here:: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=507
The Following Projects Are Examples of the nearly 900 that Will be Funded by the Governor's Transportation Plan:
- Widening of I-66 for Gainesville to Haymarket as well as the installation of an active traffic management system on I-66 to dynamically control lanes in order to reduce congestion
- Widening a key section of Rolling Road in Fairfax County to address the expected traffic impacts of BRAC
- Major interchange improvements on I-64, I-81 and I-95, in Frederick, Augusta, Stafford, and Louisa Counties
- Widening Route 7 in Loudoun County
- Rebuilding the Route 460 Southgate Avenue intersection in Montgomery County
- Widening Lynnhaven Parkway, Indian River Road and Witch Duck Road in Virginia Beach, as well as replacing the Lesner Bridge
- Widening Route 28 in Fairfax and Prince William counties
- Investments in Washington Metro, Hampton Roads Light rail, and other transit providers, including VRE to extend to Spotsylvania County.
- Several major projects throughout the Route 58 Corridor, a critical link for southern and western Virginia
- Advancing PPTA projects such as the widening of Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake; the constructing of a new tube for the Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth; advancing the HOV/HOT lanes on I95/395 in Northern Virginia
*A complete list can be found here:
Virginia transportation and business groups endorsing the plan:
- Precast Concrete Association of Virginia
Contact: Mark Singer, 804-377-2144
- Dulles Area Transportation Association
Contact: Jim Larsen, 703-817-1307
- Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Rex Hammond, (434) 845-5966 ext. 18
- Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Eileen Curtis, 571- 323-5300
- Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Tony Howard, 703-777-2176
- Committee for Dulles
Contact: Rich McCary, 703-589-1543
- Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Mark Ingrao, 703-707-9045
- Hampton Roads Partnership
Contact: E. Dana Dickens, 757-625-4696
- Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Ira Agricola, 757-622-2312
- Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance
Contact: Jeffrey Southard, 804-330-3312
- Old Dominion Highway Contractors Association
Contact: Wilson Whitehurst, 804-233-9296
- Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
Contact: Bob Chase, 703-883-1830
- Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Jim Corcoran, 703-752-7516
- Home Builders Association of Virginia
Contact: Michael Newsome, 757-340-5300
- Virginia Railroad Association
Contact: Gale Wilson, 540-887-8145
- Heavy Construction Contractors Association
Contact: Les Eszenyi, 703-392-7410
- Prince William Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Rob Clapper, 703-590-5000
- American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia
Contact: Nancy Israel, 804-673-0868
- Hampton Roads Transit
Contact: Philip Shucet, 757-222-6160
- Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate
Contact: Phil Abraham 804-644-6600
- Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Contact: John Easter, 804-783-9321
- Associated Builders and Contractors-Virginia Chapter
Contact: Angie Gutenson, 703-968-6205
- Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate
Contact: Jim Owens, 757-640-8233
- Roanoke Regional Chamber
Contact: Joyce Waugh, 540-983-0700
- Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association
Contact: Mark Singer, 804-346-1020
- NAIOP Northern Virginia, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Contact: Martha Marks 703-845-7080
- Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Rich Doud, 703-525-2400
- Virginia Asphalt Association
Contact: Richard Schreck, 804-288-3169
- Virginia Transit Association
Contact: Linda McMinimy, 804-643-1166
- Associated General Contractors of Virginia
Contact: Steve Vermillion, 804-364-5504
- Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Nancy-jo Manney, 703-866-3500
- Washington Airports Task Force
Contact: Leo Schefer or Carol Welti -- 703-572-8714
- Virginia Ready Mix Concrete Association
Contact: Larry Bullock, 540-777-7600
- American Concrete Pavement Association-Mid Atlantic Chapter
Contact: Bob Long, 804-272-6337
- Northern Virginia Building Industry Association
Contact: Jon Lindgren, 703-817-0154
- Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals
Contact: Matt Benka, 804-240-7984
- Virginia Business Council
- Northern Virginia Technology Council
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