Between potholes and too-narrow roads choked with traffic, Virginians’ cars and wallets will suffer during this summer travel season as a result of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s failure to pass adequate transportation funding.
The result: Virginia has no plan to complete vital repairs and improvements to the state’s crumbling infrastructure.
Instead, thousands of residents will pay for this failed leadership through longer travel times, rougher roads and higher overall transportation costs this summer and beyond.
New figures compiled by the Virginia Department of Transportation reveal 7.9 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 15.83 percent are functionally obsolete. Repairing them would cost an estimated $324.1 million just in the next two years.
However, the bridges are just the beginning of Virginia’s transportation headaches.
In its 2011 report, the VDOT said the state would need $3.8 billion in 2013 and 2014 just to keep pace with regular road and bridge maintenance and operation costs. To start the vital reconstruction and repairs that would bring these roadways up to current codes would cost an additional $1.09 billion during the next two years. This doesn’t even begin to account for the expansion projects that would ease congestion in the state.
I agree with McDonnell’s statement, “Transportation and economic development and prosperity are inextricably linked.” However, he has been unable to convince his Republican peers to agree to even his own modest plan to commit $4 billion to bridge and road repair and improvements to Virginia’s transportation infrastructure during the next several years.
The Virginia legislature is out of session now, and I know McDonnell will have plenty of time while sitting in traffic this summer to figure out how to fix this hole in Virginia’s transportation budget.
I urge McDonnell and his Republican colleagues to come to an agreement on a transportation funding proposal that will bring job opportunities to the state and improve our ability to travel on safe, modern roads and bridges.
Dennis Martire of Ashburn is an appointed member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board.