The Virginia Department of Transportation next week begins a series of meetings to take public comment on the draft six-year work program under consideration by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The CTB program allocates $15.4 billion for transportation improvements over the next six fiscal years, and represents a $4 billion increase thanks to House Bill 2313 signed last week by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The bill cut gas taxes and identified other taxes to increase transportation funding for roads, rail, transit and bridge projects, and other improvements across the state.

"Because of the new sustainable funding, the CTB can now look at the entire six-year-program with a long-term focus on improving the transportation system we have, building projects, and planning new ones," McDonnell said.

"The new, sustainable revenues will accelerate VDOT's efforts to extend the life of existing pavements and bridges, so we can get the most out of our current infrastructure," VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley said. "Motorists will see more paving projects than usual in the short-term and more highway construction projects in the long-term as we get new projects ready for construction."

Thelma Drake, director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, said identifying dedicated revenue was critical to funding intercity passenger rail and provide greater public transit choices.

"With the end of federal funding for Amtrak Regional train service this year, Virginia is now prepared to support intercity passenger rail as an integral part of its transportation solutions and is able to meet the new federal law requiring the Commonwealth to support all regional Amtrak train services originating in Virginia," Drake said.

The final program is expected to be adopted by the CTB in June.

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