(Updated July 2010)
Virginia Needs Shortfall: A 2004 VTrans 2025 study mandated by the Virginia General Assembly estimated the Commonwealth’s 20-year transportation funding shortfall at $74.2 billion in unmet road needs, and $30.7 billion in unmet transit needs. The previous official estimate (1997) placed the shortfall at $40 billion.
20 Years and Counting: Virginia's last major infusion of new transportation funds was authorized by the General Assembly in September 1986 when the Commonwealth raised the gas tax by 2.5 cents to its current 17.5 cent level, added one half percent to the state sales tax and increased the motor vehicle sales and use tax by 1%. The state's gasoline is the nation’s 9th lowest and according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation Virginia ranks 41st of 50 states in combined state and local tax burden
Shrinking Six-Year Plan: Since 2002 hundreds of projects have been dropped from the state’s Six-Year Plan due to lack of funding. Absent new funds soon, no money will be available for new construction because all existing funds will be needed for maintenance. Elimination of projects is hitting Northern Virginia particularly hard.
For a chart showing how maintenance needs are consuming most state construction dollars, click here.
Northern Virginia needs/shortfall: In its new TransAction 2030 Transportation Plan, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority estimates Northern Virginia’s transportation funding shortfall at $16.6 billion or $664 million per year. Total cost of the plan is $46 billion.
Metropolitan Washington Region
(Northern Virginia, Suburban Maryland, District of Columbia)
Regional short-term needs/shortfall: In February 2004, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) estimated the region's Six Year (2005-2010) unfunded transportation needs at $13.2 billion. Of that amount, $7.8 billion are unfunded road needs; $5.4 billion unfunded transit needs. Northern Virginia's unfunded needs are estimated at $4 billion of which $2.6 billion is targeted to mass transit verses $1.4 billion for roads.
Regional long-term needs/shortfall: In 2001, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) estimated the region's transportation funding shortfall over the next 25 years is at $43.5 billion or $1.74 billion per year.
Metro area revenues from all sources (federal, state, local) between now and 2030 are projected to be $93 billion or $3.4 billion per year- 80% of this amount will be required to operate and maintain the existing highway and transit system, leaving only 20% (about $600 million/year) for new construction. Put another way, the cost of maintaining the existing system is estimated at $2.7 billion/year. Currently about 60% of all projected funds will be allocated to public transit.
Declining state and federal transportation revenues mean that the actual shortfalls today are far greater than previously projected.
For the first time in many years, the TPB's fiscally Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) update contains no new projects. Completion dates for many CLRP projects have been pushed far into the future. A reassessment of current project cost estimates and revenue projections most likely will lead to the postponement or removal of many projects currently in the CLRP.
All of this highlights both the need for more revenue and prioritization of CLRP projects.