Virginia’s Transportation Funding Crisis
(Updated June 2013)
Funding highways and transit is a core state responsibility.
It only took 27 years.
For the first time since 1986, the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 approved new, long-term transportation funding.
HB 2313, a compromise package enacted with bi-partisan support in both Houses, and inspired by Governor Bob McDonnell’s leadership provides $3.5 billion in new state funding and $2.6 billion in new regional funding for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia over the next five years.
For the legislative background, including recorded votes, click here.
For an overview of HB 2313, click here.
Private Sector Leadership:
Successes like the enactment of HB 2313 don’t just happen. Public officials needed to know of the strong support for new transportation funding and the Alliance helped fulfill this need.
Since 2006 the Alliance has led a coalition of Northern Virginia business organizations (Northern Virginia Business Transportation Coalition) in petitioning the Virginia General Assembly to enact new long-term state and regional funding.
In 2007 the Alliance and the Coalition were instrumental in securing the passage of HB 3202 which provided hundreds of millions of new regional transportation funds to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Unfortunately the Virginia Supreme Court declared much of that legislation unconstitutional (one major exception being new state transportation bonds).
However, the Alliance and the Coalition continued to press for new funding.
In 2011 the Alliance, 27 other Northern Virginia business organizations, the Fairfax and Prince William County Boards of Supervisors, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission adopted a resolution stating that all funding options should be on the table, that the Commonwealth's transportation funding crisis could not be solved without new dedicated taxes and fees, and that "no new transportation tax" pledges by political candidates are contrary to the Commonwealth's best interests. To read the resolution, click here.
For more information on transportation funding initiatives in the 2012 and 2011 Virginia General Assembly sessions, see below.
2012 General Assembly Session:
The 2012 Virginia General Assembly adjourned with no serious progress on transportation funding.
Governor McDonnell and the GOP-controlled House of Delegates proposed a package of initiatives that included increasing the portion of the retail sales tax dedicated to transportation from .5% to .75% over an 8-year period and selling naming rights to transportation infrastructure. The evenly split Senate proposed indexing the gas tax to the Producer Price Index for Highway Construction Materials.
The House defeated the Senate proposal, the Senate defeated the House proposal and the session ended the same as the previous 26 sessions with no new long-term transportation funding.
For a description of Governor McDonnell’s initial 2012 Omnibus Transportation Funding Bill, click here.
For a description of the Senate’s initial 2012 proposal, click here.
On the plus side HB 599 and SB 531 directing VDOT to evaluate Northern Virginia highway and transit projects on their ability to reduce congestion did become law.
2011 General Assembly Session:
During the 2011 General Assembly session, the Alliance supported Governor McDonnell's $3.2 billion transportation package. While not the new, reliable, long-term funding Virginia's transportation program needs, the $3.2 billion infusion helps jump start and complete hundreds of delayed projects.
For more information, click here.
What You Need to Know about Transportation
1) Virginia operates the nation’s third largest state highway network with 68,000 miles and 12,000 bridges. Only Texas and North Carolina have bigger systems.
2) Virginia's highway network is aging and in a growing state of disrepair. VDOT's latest pavement surface analysis finds that 19.7 percent of Virginia's interstate lane miles and 22.4 percent of its primary roads lane miles have poor or very poor pavement surfaces. More alarming is the fact that 35.2 percent, or 27,808, of Virginia's 79,000 lane-miles of secondary road pavements are deficient.
3) Northern Virginia has added more than 1,000,000 people in the last 25 years and more vehicles than people.
4) Demand on Northern Virginia’s network will continue to increase. In the next 25 years, Northern Virginia is projected to add 350,000 households (43%), 651,000 jobs (53%) and 918,000 people (42%).
5) A constitutional amendment protecting the Transportation Trust Fund from being diverted to the General Fund will not protect construction dollars being diverted to maintenance and thus will not solve the problem. The TTF and HMOF should be separate with no transfers allowed. This would stop the drain on the TTF and force the General Assembly to fund maintenance.
6) Public-private partnerships (PPTAs) are not enough. Private firms will only build new roads that can make a profit. Since most transportation projects are not profitable, PPTA options are limited. Most PPTAs requires some public funds. Virginia currently lacks funds to support an aggressive PPTA program. At best, PPTAs are estimated to be capable of meeting 20% of Virginia’s needs.
Commonwealth Transportation Fund (Transportation Revenues and Allocations)
What different funding options generate
VDOT Budget FY 2013
Commonwealth Transportation Fund Six-Year Financial Plan (FY2014-FY2019)