Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Jennifer Pickett 804-786-7432
Dec. 17, 2009
COMMONWEALTH TRANSPORTATION BOARD APPROVES MEASURES TO ADDRESS $893.5 MILLION IN TRANSPORTATION REVENUE REDUCTIONS
Adopts Revised Fiscal Years 2010 – 2015 Six-Year Improvement Program
RICHMOND – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) took action at its meeting in Richmond today to address transportation revenue estimates that continue to slide downward. The latest shortfall for fiscal years 2010-2015 now totals $893.5 million, including more than $42 million in additional reductions announced in December. The latest revenue estimates require the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to reduce administrative, operational, maintenance and construction programs to balance their budgets.
Overall, since spring 2008, available transportation revenue has been reduced by $4.61 billion.
During today’s meeting, the CTB approved a budget adopting VDOT’s plans to cut $88.7 million in programs and services before Fiscal Year 2010 ends July 1. Fiscal Year 2010 cuts will include:
- Reductions in administrative costs
- Reduced equipment purchases
- Reduced capital outlay for facility improvements
- Reduced payroll for employees already laid off as part of staffing reductions
- Reduced maintenance including cutting payments to localities that maintain their own roads
- Reduced paving operations
To address the overall $893.5 million reductions over the next six years, the CTB adopted cuts to programs including:
- Ground transportation planning and research
- Highway system acquisition and construction
- Highway system maintenance
- Commonwealth toll facilities
- Financial assistance to localities
- Non-toll supported debt service
- Administrative and support services
- VDOT capital outlay
- Public transportation
“Since we proposed reductions in November, transportation revenues have slipped even further, forcing us to make more difficult decisions to cut administrative programs and to reduce additional maintenance spending,” said VDOT Commissioner David S. Ekern. “We will ensure that our emergency response programs such as snow and ice removal are shielded from these cuts, but we are going to have to scale back other maintenance and operations activities to live within the funding available to us.”
Six-Year Improvement Program Changes
The CTB adopted the Revised Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2010-2015. The program includes significant changes to the slate of proposed construction and maintenance projects to address available funding sources and commonwealth priorities. The $7.6 billion revised program reflects policy and revenue changes prompting significant alterations to the mix of projects included in the program and delayed project schedules.
The revised program focuses on:
- Replacing and improving bridges
- Eliminating formula distribution of certain federal highway funds
- Maximizing the use of available federal funding for ongoing projects
- Completing projects already under way and those that will begin in FY 2010
- Covering increased estimates and rising project costs on projects under way
“This program reflects the harsh realities facing us—that we are able to prioritize and advance only a small fraction of the needed transportation improvements in the commonwealth,” said Pierce R. Homer, secretary of transportation. “The easy decisions are long behind us. We are now faced with ever-more challenging choices about what needs we simply will not be able to meet due to our shrinking resources.”
Homer cited an example of advancing the construction of the Interstate 564 Inter-modal Connector Project to the revised SYIP by pooling funding from several Hampton Roads-area projects that could not be advanced in the plan to ensure one major regional priority was addressed.
State and federal revenue reductions were spread across all modes of transportation including rail and public transportation. FY10 transit operating fund reductions were offset for rural and small urban transit operators through the use of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding, while large urban transit operating funds are reduced by 6.7 percent. Transit capital funding for projects sourced through the Mass Transit Trust Fund are reduced by 9.1 percent. In rail transportation, a 12.4 percent reduction in rail enhancement fund revenues will impact available rail capital funds, diminishing potential state funds to support high-speed rail initiatives.
“The availability of ARRA funds for transit operations has helped ensure that we are able to meet this year’s commitment to rural and small urban transit operators,” said DRPT Director Charles Badger. “Unfortunately, we still have to reduce transit operating funds for large urban operators as well as capital funds for projects funded from the Mass Transit Trust Fund, and there is less funding available for rail initiatives.”
The program reserves $627 million in federal spending authority not programmed to specific projects because Congress has not yet passed a reliable long-term federal funding bill. This additional federal funding will be held in reserve until federal funds can be relied upon to carry the projects through to completion. If a federal transportation bill is passed, the reserve funds could be allocated to a small number of high-priority projects.
The CTB also received a briefing on the progress the commonwealth is making in investing its ARRA funding. Virginia received $694.5 million in transportation stimulus funding. The commonwealth continues to make progress in investing its available stimulus funding while meeting all deadlines and directives contained in the legislation. The update outlined that:
- 51 projects have been obligated with a total value of $324.5 million
- 41 projects have been advertised with a total value of $355.4 million
- 40 projects have been awarded with a total value of $275.6 million
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.