Transportation continues to be a high priority, especially for our area. This year I am sponsoring two resolutions (House Joint Resolutions 580 and 581) to direct the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) and VDOT to develop a strategic plan to improve I-95 from our area north to the Beltway. Currently the CTB and VDOT have no long-term plan to make improvements, which I find unacceptable. I know that making significant improvements in the corridor is expensive and takes years to get done, but VDOT should have a plan in place so that they can begin working on it and at least start addressing the problem.
In recent years the General Assembly, spearheaded by the House of Delegates, has significantly increased transportation funding to try to address traffic issues, not just on I-95, but throughout the state. Here is a brief summary of some of our efforts to improve transportation.
In 2005, we increased transportation funding by more than $ 1.4 Billion, the largest increase in nearly 20 years, including $ 850 million in funding to reduce congestion on major thoroughfares like I-95. The following year, in 2006, an additional $ 568 million was directed to transportation.
During the 2007 session, the General Assembly financed largest transportation investment in two decades by providing nearly $ 500 million in ongoing, new transportation funding and authorizing $ 3 Billion in transportation bonds.
In 2008 we restored $180 million in transportation funding that former Governor Kaine had diverted to other programs.
Soon after coming into office in 2010, Governor McDonnell ordered a performance audit of VDOT that revealed $1.4 billion in previously authorized funds that were not being spent on needed highway maintenance and new construction. These dollars were collected and redirected to long overdue transportation projects.
In 2011, we passed legislation to authorize nearly $4 billion in bond funding for transportation that jump-started over 900 projects around Virginia.
In 2013, the General Assembly passed a variety of fee and tax increases to raise over $ 1.3 Billion additional funds annually for transportation. Also, other fees and tax increases were imposed on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to raise funds for critical regional projects.
In 2016 we increased transportation funding by nearly $ 1 Billion. Total funding for transportation is $13.4 Billion over the biennium. We also passed my House Bill 97 which directed the Department of Transportation to conduct an evaluation with the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to address traffic congestion on the Interstate 95 in our area, with a goal towards reducing congestion on I-95.
Our transportation problems are not just due to a lack of funding. A big part of the problem is all the bureaucratic hurdles that must be cleared before a road project can start. Not only do road projects have to go through VDOT in Richmond for approval, but Washington also gets involved in most projects. Major projects must be reviewed and approved by several Federal agencies such as the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Highway Department. It can take years or even decades for a project to get all the approvals needed to proceed.