Transportation Funding - 2010 Legislative Program
2. Major new revenue sources for transportation must be enacted during the 2010 General Assembly session.
What was once a crisis in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads is quickly becoming a catastrophe for the entire Commonwealth. There is no viable transportation solution that does not include long-term, dedicated, sustainable, new multimodal revenues.
Over the past two years, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has cut $3.7billion from the Six Year Program, and projections indicate that another $900 million cut will be necessary to further reduce the Program to match current revenue projections. Secondary and urban system construction funds have essentially been eliminated, despite the fact that the secondary roads are a Commonwealth responsibility. In addition, the growth in maintenance spending has been reduced from 4% to 3%, even though maintenance costs are increasing overall. The Commonwealth is risking serious disinvestment in its existing transportation infrastructure that will be more difficult and more expensive to correct in the future. Today, approximately $1 billion is needed to address existing deficient pavement conditions, and approximately $3.7 billion is needed to fix the Commonwealth’s deficient bridges. Very shortly the Commonwealth will be unable to ensure that the required matches are available for the federal transportation funds the Commonwealth receives. Should this happen, Virginia would have to return these federal funds, further compounding the crisis.
Northern Virginia jurisdictions continue to support additional state and regional transportation funding for highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and have taken actions to increase funding locally. In 2006, the region’s TransAction 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan estimated that Northern Virginia alone needs $700 million per year in new transportation funding to address the region’s transportation problems.
This figure has increased since then, because most of the major HB 3202 revenue sources have been eliminated.
The Northern Virginia jurisdictions seek reinstatement of exclusive Northern Virginia revenues in the range of at least $300 million annually, as well as 100 percent of Northern Virginia’s contribution of additional statewide revenues, to address transportation needs not originally covered by the HB 3202 funding approved for Northern Virginia. Both the regional and statewide revenues should be provided from stable, reliable, proven and permanent source(s).
The General Assembly must adopt new statewide transportation revenue sources to bolster existing highway and transit revenue sources that are not generating sufficient funding to meet the Commonwealth’s critical highway needs or meet the Commonwealth’s statutory 95 percent share of eligible transit operating and capital costs (net of fares and federal assistance). This additional transit funding alone would require approximately $166 million annually in new funds for the limited transit projects and eligible operating costs included in the Six Year Program. Additional funds to dramatically increase Secondary Road investments are also needed.
Any funding solution must ensure that dedicated funding for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority capital improvements and for Virginia Railway Express capital and operating expenses are addressed.
Existing state General Fund revenue streams (almost half of which now go to localities) are required and usedfor core services of the Commonwealth, such as education and public safety. These historically underfunded, locally provided core services are already experiencing significant cuts, due to reduced General Fund revenues, and shifting the state’s transportation funding responsibility to localities by using the General Fund increases local budget pressures, without providing a true transportation solution.(Revises and updates previous transportation funding position.)