McDonnell unveils plans to spend unused VDOT funds

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell has figured out how he wants to spend all of that extra cash in VDOT's budget coffers.

An audit in September revealed the state transportation department has more than $1 billion in unspent funds.

It means that you will see plenty of new road construction projects and soon. $400 million will be spent right away on statewide and local transportation needs.

It was a pledge the Governor made after he revealed that VDOT discovered it had $1.5 billion in unspent funds.

"I'd say there's been money sitting in accounts while people have been sitting in traffic," McDonnell said in September when he pledged to get the money out of accounts and into Virginia roads.

The plan has now been revealed.

The first step-- immediately allocate $400 million for road projects that need funding now.

$200 million will go to maintain VDOT projects statewide. Another $200 million to will be doled out by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). That cash will be spent on critical maintenance needs, meaning problem areas could be addressed as soon as this spring.

But that is just the beginning. The CTB will allocate more than $500 million in new projects in the spring of 2011 and an additional $130 million in stalled federal projects will be shifted to something ready to go.

And while crews are out on roads fixing today's road problems, the McDonnell administration is ordering an overhaul of the way the agency does business in the future.

New policies will be implemented designed to get road projects up and running quicker and make the agency more efficient and accountable.

While there is more than $1.5 billion in excess funds available right now, the Commonwealth's transportation needs far exceed that figure. Most experts say it will require hundreds of billions of dollars to truly solve Virginia's congestion problems.

You can see the entire VDOT Audit action plan on the agency's web site.

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