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County loses more road $$

A new $8.9 billion state road project approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) Friday includes $1.3 million in additional cuts for Pulaski County road projects.
Friday’s revisions to the “Fiscal Year 2009-2014 Six-Year Improvement Program” (SYIP) are in addition to $24.2 million already cut from the county’s road program in early January.
The latest $2 billion in cuts statewide are the result of a $2.6 billion shortfall in state and federal funding to Virginia Department of Transportation during the course of the next six years. This is the first time the SYIP has been revised in mid-year, Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer pointed out during a public hearing recently held at New River Community College.
The new local cuts include a doubling or near doubling of reductions to two projects affected by the January revision.
Earlier, the CTB cut $659,124 that had been set aside for widening East Main Street from two to four lanes. Under the approved plan, $1.3 million will be cut from the widening project.
In January, the CTB recommended cutting $50,000 that would have been used to overlay existing plant mix on secondary roads throughout the county. Now, that figure stands at $100,000.
Other secondary road cuts include:
• The elimination of $248,896 that had been budgeted for project engineering and right-of-way acquisition to reconstruct and pave Route 778 (Dallas Freeman Road); and
• A reduction of $1.2 million that would have been used for engineering and rights-of-way to reconstruct Route 693 (Lead Mine, Julia Simpkins and Farris Mine roads). The earlier revision had recommended cutting the project by $836,114.
Statewide, the approved SYIP commits $6 billion for highway construction and $2.9 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years.
“As the economy shrinks, so do our transportation revenues and our ability to invest in our future,” Homer said. “We are hopeful that the economic recovery act before Congress can help to offset some of these difficult and painful choices.”
VDOT points out that the approved plan reflects CTB’s commitment to rail, transit and highway maintenance.
Under the revised plan, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will allocate $2.9 billion to the state’s rail and transit operators for service improvements.
“The demand for rail and transit services continues to grow in Virginia,” said Charles M. Badger, DRPT acting director. “The funding approved for these program areas will help ensure that Virginians have viable transportation options now and in the future.”
VDOT cut back on its construction program in order to meet state law requiring maintenance of existing roadways to take priority over new construction.
The department estimates that it needs more than $1 billion to stabilize deteriorating pavements on the Commonwealth’s 58,000-mile highway network and its 1,730 “structurally-deficient” bridges.
“The serious funding constraints are a stark reality that requires our agency to aggressively shift our focus,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT’s commissioner. “In the coming months and years, VDOT will change (its) role from building roads to addressing growing maintenance needs and emergency response efforts.”
Lists of projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s website at www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.

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County loses more road $$

A new $8.9 billion state road project approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) Friday includes $1.3 million in additional cuts for Pulaski County road projects.
Friday’s revisions to the “Fiscal Year 2009-2014 Six-Year Improvement Program” (SYIP) are in addition to $24.2 million already cut from the county’s road program in early January.
The latest $2 billion in cuts statewide are the result of a $2.6 billion shortfall in state and federal funding to Virginia Department of Transportation during the course of the next six years. This is the first time the SYIP has been revised in mid-year, Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer pointed out during a public hearing recently held at New River Community College.
The new local cuts include a doubling or near doubling of reductions to two projects affected by the January revision.
Earlier, the CTB cut $659,124 that had been set aside for widening East Main Street from two to four lanes. Under the approved plan, $1.3 million will be cut from the widening project.
In January, the CTB recommended cutting $50,000 that would have been used to overlay existing plant mix on secondary roads throughout the county. Now, that figure stands at $100,000.
Other secondary road cuts include:
• The elimination of $248,896 that had been budgeted for project engineering and right-of-way acquisition to reconstruct and pave Route 778 (Dallas Freeman Road); and
• A reduction of $1.2 million that would have been used for engineering and rights-of-way to reconstruct Route 693 (Lead Mine, Julia Simpkins and Farris Mine roads). The earlier revision had recommended cutting the project by $836,114.
Statewide, the approved SYIP commits $6 billion for highway construction and $2.9 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years.
“As the economy shrinks, so do our transportation revenues and our ability to invest in our future,” Homer said. “We are hopeful that the economic recovery act before Congress can help to offset some of these difficult and painful choices.”
VDOT points out that the approved plan reflects CTB’s commitment to rail, transit and highway maintenance.
Under the revised plan, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will allocate $2.9 billion to the state’s rail and transit operators for service improvements.
“The demand for rail and transit services continues to grow in Virginia,” said Charles M. Badger, DRPT acting director. “The funding approved for these program areas will help ensure that Virginians have viable transportation options now and in the future.”
VDOT cut back on its construction program in order to meet state law requiring maintenance of existing roadways to take priority over new construction.
The department estimates that it needs more than $1 billion to stabilize deteriorating pavements on the Commonwealth’s 58,000-mile highway network and its 1,730 “structurally-deficient” bridges.
“The serious funding constraints are a stark reality that requires our agency to aggressively shift our focus,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT’s commissioner. “In the coming months and years, VDOT will change (its) role from building roads to addressing growing maintenance needs and emergency response efforts.”
Lists of projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s website at www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.

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