Virginia's latest plan for easing congestion

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 5, 2011; 6:03 PM

Virginia has a new plan for easing traffic congestion. But then, Virginia almost always has a new plan for easing traffic congestion. That's one of the constants in the commonwealth - that, and traffic congestion. This is maintained by a balance of forces in the state's transportation politics: Virginia voters are determined to find a solution to the traffic jams that plague them emotionally and economically, and they are equally determined not to pay for it.

Some leaders accept that; others try to fight it. Here's a look at the latest developments and some of the history of Virginia's struggle to create a modern transportation network.

McDonnell's finance plan

These are the key elements of the proposal by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), which is now advancing through the General Assembly:

l The governor says his transportation funding bill - introduced as HB 2527 in the House of Delegates and SB 1446 in the Senate - would inject nearly $3 billion into Virginia's transportation system over the next three years, accelerating more than 900 projects statewide to produce congestion relief and economic development.

l The legislation would create the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, drawing on funds from the 2010 budget surplus and from money identified by auditing the Virginia Department of Transportation.

l Virginia would issue Garvee bonds (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles), issued in anticipation of future federal funding to support transportation projects. Garvee bonds are a major source of funding for Maryland's Intercounty Connector.

l The state would accelerate the sale of bonds from 2007 transportation legislation.

Key projects funded

These projects and programs in Northern Virginia are in the package:

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