Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Jennifer Pickett 804-786-7432
Nov. 18, 2009
COMMONWEALTH TRANSPORTATION BOARD RECEIVES PROPOSALS TO ADDRESS $851.5 MILLION IN TRANSPORTATION REVENUE REDUCTIONS
Considers Draft Revised Fiscal Years 2010 – 2015 Six-Year Improvement Program
RICHMOND – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) continued grappling with reductions in available transportation funding at today’s CTB meeting in Richmond. Transportation revenue estimates have improved since August estimates that forecasted needed reductions of $883 million for transportation agencies over the next six years. The latest revenue estimates require the transportation agencies to propose $851.5 million in reductions to administrative, operational, maintenance and construction programs to balance their budgets.
Overall, since spring 2008, available transportation revenue has been reduced by $4.6 billion.
During today’s meeting, VDOT outlined plans to cut $84 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 $851.5 million reductions over the next six years, the CTB is considering 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
“VDOT is working to address these revenue reductions by executing long-term strategic changes to our business that will allow us to better address the available resources and demands of our customers,” said VDOT Commissioner David S. Ekern. “None of these are easy decisions to make, but we must live within our means.”
Six-Year Improvement Program Changes
VDOT and DRPT today also presented a Draft Revised Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2010-2015. The program represents some significant changes to the slate of proposed construction and maintenance projects to address available funding sources and commonwealth priorities. The total proposed program is approximately the same as the original Fiscal Years 2010-2015 Six-Year Improvement Program at approximately $7.6 billion, but policy and revenue changes have prompted significant alterations to the mix of projects included in the program and the timelines for completion of these projects.
The revised program is based on:
- Replacing and improving bridges
- Eliminating formula distribution of certain federal 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
“We have worked diligently to keep projects on track that support our main priority areas, but this program represents continued reduction in our ability to build and maintain secondary and urban highways,” said Pierce R. Homer, secretary of transportation.
Rail and transit funding was similarly impacted as state and federal revenue reductions struck across all modes of transportation. FY10 transit operating fund reductions were offset for rural and small urban transit operators through the use of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding, while large urban transit operating funds are reduced by 5.7 percent. Transit capital funding for projects sourced through the Mass Transit Trust Fund are reduced by 7.8 percent. In rail transportation, a 10 percent reduction will impact available rail capital funds, diminishing potential state funds to support high-speed 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.
Public Input Sought
The Draft Fiscal Years 2010-2015 Six-Year Improvement Program is available at www.VirginiaDOT.org, and includes proposed project impact lists for interstate, primary, secondary and urban roadways. Details of the rail and transit program are available at www.drpt.virginia.gov.
The CTB will host a Dec. 1 public hearing in Richmond to receive public input on the Revised Draft Fiscal Years 2010-2015 Six-Year Improvement Program for highway, transit, rail and commuter service improvements. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at VDOT’s Central Office, 1401 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219
Written comments may be submitted via mail or e-mail until Dec. 11, 2009. Written comments can be submitted to:
Public Information Office
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
600 E. Main St., Suite 2102
Richmond, VA 23219
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Also see http://syip.virginiadot.org and http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.
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.