An increase in available funding for construction projects has brought an accompanying spike in the workload for county and state transportation departments, Fairfax County staff said Tuesday.
Last year’s transportation funding bill is expected to provide about $94 million for the county in fiscal 2014, according to previous estimates, and about $4 billion statewide over the next five years.
The county transportation department is planning to take an expanded role in executing local projects, according to Eric Teitelman of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
Because of this, the department is working to streamline its processes and expand county staff capabilities to ensure that transportation improvements are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
State code caps the total number of VDOT employees, which has raised some concerns at the county level.
In addition to possible delays in project schedules, county officials are concerned that more responsibilities could get pushed to the local level. Historically, road construction and maintenance has been a state responsibility in Virginia.
“We want more authority, we want more say in our projects,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova. “But what we have been consistently concerned about is that we will get the huge responsibility that is maintenance.”
The proposal to improve the county’s processes is more related to the new funding coming directly to the county as a result of last year’s transportation funding bill, said Tom Biesiadny, director of the county’s Department of Transportation.
A VDOT representative attending the board’s Transportation Committee meeting said the agency works around the staffing cap by using more contractors and that staffing levels are not a concern.
Fairfax County’s transportation department will begin implementing some changes to its processes immediately, with more significant changes taking place over the next five years.