Virginia lawmakers ask Congress for help with funding for I-81 improvements
Delegate Steve Landes and 15 other members of the Virginia General Assembly have written to members of Virginia's congressional delegation asking for assistance with safety improvements and congestion relief on Interstate 81.
Landes says a funding mechanism was provided for the improvements that are needed at the state level, but there is still a deficit of $2.2 billion.
Last month, Virginia lawmakers
higher truck registration fees and gas tax increases along the I-81 corridor to fund necessary improvements for the interstate.
The motor fuels tax will go up 2.1 percent, amounting to about 7 cents a gallon.
In addition, the measure stablished dedicated funding of $151 million for 81, but also $40 million for I-95, $28 million for I-64, and and $20 million for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
The money raised through the taxes will go into a dedicated fund called the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund, which will then be used to pay for repairs VDOT determined were necessary after a year of public meetings. You can find a list of those repairs in the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan
Landes says now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate and provide the funding still lacking, as 81 has become a dangerous road.
Last week, Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06)
before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to advocate for funding for Interstate 81.
During testimony, Cline said I-81 is in dire need of funding for repairs to ease congestion and improve safety.
Landes feels it's been made very clear how important this issue is to Virginians.
"The members of the U.S. Senate that represent Virginia have heard loud and clear from many parts of Virginia that they want something done about Interstate 81. So hopefully we'll get a different result now that we have some new members."
The text of the letter says "Interstate 81 has become a dangerous and unreliable road that has caused unnecessary loss of life, revenue, and economic opportunity." He added "One of the things we heard early on was that Virginia needs to do something if it's going to try and solve part of that problem. Well Virginia is doing something, now the United States government needs to do something as well."
, they didn't get much of a response. But with new members in Congress, including former local delegate Ben Cline, he has hope for a different outcome this time around.
The other signatories on the letter are Senators Bill Carrico, Ben Chafin, Creigh Deeds, John Edwards, Emmett Hanger, and Mark Obenshain, along with Delegates Terry Austin, Ronnie Campbell, Chris Collins, Chris Hurst, Terry Kilgore, Steve Landes, Dave LaRock, Todd Pillion, Sam Rasoul, and Tony Wilt.
It's addressed to Dave LaRock, Todd Pillion, Sam Rasoul, and Tony Wilt were signatories of the letter sent to U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as Congressmen Ben Cline, Morgan Griffith and Jennifer Wexton.
You can find the full letter below: