ROANOKE, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell has already pledged to increase VDOT's budget and get projects out the door quickly. Thursday, he expanded those plans with a commitment of an additional $4 billion in transportation funding, on top of what has already been announced.
But where is all the money coming from?
McDonnell was highly critical of previous administrations who he said left money in VDOT coffers while Virginia drivers were stuck in traffic.
Now he plans to do exactly the opposite. Condensing 7 years worth of borrowing into three years with goal of getting Virginia roads fixed quickly. The Governor believes that if you are going to spend money on transportation now is the time.
"I want to make clear, right now is the best time in modern Virginia history to get new roads and bridges built," McDonnell said in a speech to the Governor's Transportation Conference in Roanoke.
McDonnell revealed plans to leverage federal matching dollars to take out $3 billion dollars in loans over a three year period.
The move will flush VDOT with cash to begin major transportation improvements. Investments will be made in roads, bridges, railroads and mass transit.
By spending the money now, the Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton believes they will be getting a better bang for their buck.
"The cost of the contracts we have coming in are somewhere between 75 to 80% less than what we had estimated it," Connaughton said. "It just shows that you can get more projects done for a lower amount that what has been allocated."
Meaning that if these projects can get out the door quickly, Virginia could see major improvements to transportation in short order.
This announcement is just one part of the Governor's full transportation plan. He will unveil his entire proposal with a series of budget amendments when the general assembly re-convenes next month.
Not everyone thinks the Governor's idea is a good one. See what Democratic Minority Leader Ward Armstrong had to say on our political blog, DecisionVirginia.com.
Decision Virginia also has the entire details connected to the Governor's proposal.