Virginia Roads-Future Trouble?

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

Virginia's inability to match federal funding for roadwork may mean the loss of millions of dollars. WHSV spoke to V-DOT and some local legislators to find out why.

A new state legislative report warns if Virginia can't match federal funds, it could lose large amounts of it beginning in 2013. But V-DOT says it's too early to worry about that yet.

"You're looking at more than 10 years down the road," says VDOT spokesman Eric Gorton. "I think its good that we're getting this information now. It gives us time to kind of decide how to approach it."

Virginia is increasingly reliant on federal funding. It will account for more than 60-percent of V-DOT's road building budget next year. But VDOT has still had to make major cuts in their projects, slicing 166 last year.

"Right now, times are tight definitely and we've cut back the 6-year plan dramatically," says Gorton. "We want a plan that shows the projects that we have the money to do."

The Virginia legislature hasn't substantially increased transportation spending since 1986. And they say V-DOT needs to be reformed before it gets any more money. But V-DOT says taxpayers may have to decide how important new roads are to them.

"Raising taxes is not popular, on a national level and on a local level," explains Gorton. "We had a couple of referendums this year in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads and the voters said they didn't want to raise taxes."

Gorton says if something isn't done to fix the problem, one of the projects that might be affected will be the I-81 expansion.

V-DOT says its first priority is to maintain the roads they already have. They say any leftover money from that is what they use to build new roads.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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