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I-81 project gets ax

RICHMOND — Two Pulaski County projects are among nearly 600 road projects either axed or delayed in the Virginia Department of Transportation Fiscal Years 2009-2014 Six Year Improvement Program approved late last week.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved a $10.1 billion program for public transportation, rail and highway projects that will begin July 1. However, the program included significant reductions due to a $1.1 billion funding shortfall.
Locally, the CTB decided to remove from the plan an Interstate 81 improvement project in Pulaski County and to delay reconstruction of Rock Creek Road.
The I-81 project would have reconstructed the northbound acceleration lane at Exit 94, off Rt. 99. It’s a project that has garnered the support of many area residents who feel the lane is too short and poses a traffic hazard for motorists entering the interstate and already traveling on 81.
The Rock Creek Road (Route 764) project would have reconstructed a section of the road from Route 693 to the Carroll County line.
The 2009-2014 program commits $7.9 billion statewide for highway construction and $2.2 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years. There are 2,288 individual line items in the program which represent safety, bridge, maintenance and operations, transit, construction and rail projects.
A slowing economy, shrinking revenues and increased maintenance costs required the commonwealth to impact nearly 600 projects statewide. The projects include those that were in previous six-year programs, projects under consideration by the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads transportation authorities and candidate projects shared in a series of public meetings last fall for possible inclusion in the program.
Lists of other projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s web site at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.
“Our focus for this year’s program is not on adding new projects, rather it is about making difficult choices in the face of a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall,” said Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer. “Because of falling revenues and a slowing economy, we must focus only on safety and projects that we can advance through the pipeline to make the most of the funds we have available. The majority of the projects in the plan are targeted to much-needed bridges, pavement rehabilitation projects and safety programs. We have to make tough decisions about what projects we can afford.”
The commonwealth is required by law to adopt a Six-Year Improvement Program by July 1 each year based upon the most recent official transportation revenue estimates issued by the Department of Taxation.
The fiscal years 2009-2014 program reflects a commitment to transit and rail, which has grown from five percent of total funding in fiscal year 1999 to 18 percent in fiscal year 2009. The program also reflects $2.75 billion of construction funding that must be used to offset the rising cost of maintenance for Virginia’s nearly 58,000 miles of roadway and 13,000 bridges and structures. Virginia is required by law to fund maintenance before construction.

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I-81 project gets ax

RICHMOND — Two Pulaski County projects are among nearly 600 road projects either axed or delayed in the Virginia Department of Transportation Fiscal Years 2009-2014 Six Year Improvement Program approved late last week.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved a $10.1 billion program for public transportation, rail and highway projects that will begin July 1. However, the program included significant reductions due to a $1.1 billion funding shortfall.
Locally, the CTB decided to remove from the plan an Interstate 81 improvement project in Pulaski County and to delay reconstruction of Rock Creek Road.
The I-81 project would have reconstructed the northbound acceleration lane at Exit 94, off Rt. 99. It’s a project that has garnered the support of many area residents who feel the lane is too short and poses a traffic hazard for motorists entering the interstate and already traveling on 81.
The Rock Creek Road (Route 764) project would have reconstructed a section of the road from Route 693 to the Carroll County line.
The 2009-2014 program commits $7.9 billion statewide for highway construction and $2.2 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years. There are 2,288 individual line items in the program which represent safety, bridge, maintenance and operations, transit, construction and rail projects.
A slowing economy, shrinking revenues and increased maintenance costs required the commonwealth to impact nearly 600 projects statewide. The projects include those that were in previous six-year programs, projects under consideration by the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads transportation authorities and candidate projects shared in a series of public meetings last fall for possible inclusion in the program.
Lists of other projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s web site at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.
“Our focus for this year’s program is not on adding new projects, rather it is about making difficult choices in the face of a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall,” said Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer. “Because of falling revenues and a slowing economy, we must focus only on safety and projects that we can advance through the pipeline to make the most of the funds we have available. The majority of the projects in the plan are targeted to much-needed bridges, pavement rehabilitation projects and safety programs. We have to make tough decisions about what projects we can afford.”
The commonwealth is required by law to adopt a Six-Year Improvement Program by July 1 each year based upon the most recent official transportation revenue estimates issued by the Department of Taxation.
The fiscal years 2009-2014 program reflects a commitment to transit and rail, which has grown from five percent of total funding in fiscal year 1999 to 18 percent in fiscal year 2009. The program also reflects $2.75 billion of construction funding that must be used to offset the rising cost of maintenance for Virginia’s nearly 58,000 miles of roadway and 13,000 bridges and structures. Virginia is required by law to fund maintenance before construction.

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