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McDonnell touts transportation plan

An analysis of 10 highway projects funded by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s 2011 $4 billion transportation program shows they will provide nearly 3,700 direct jobs during their construction, $190.8 million in personal income, $14.8 million in state and local tax revenues and other benefits to Virginia.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation advertised more than $2 billion worth of construction and maintenance contracts last year, a direct result of the money provided by our 2011 transportation package, which the General Assembly approved,” McDonnell said. “This review of a cross section of new VDOT road projects clearly illustrates that putting such work on the street in turn puts Virginians to work and returns other financial benefits back to the commonwealth.”

Economists at VDOT’s Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research analyzed the need and scope of the 10 new road projects plus their direct short-term economic impacts during construction and long-term economic benefits, or expected cost and time savings, to both the state and motorists.

In addition to the job, income and tax figures, the research economists found the 10 projects, costing a combined total of $378.4 million, would provide $255 million in “gross state product,” defined as the sum of the value that industries add within the state and a counterpart to “gross domestic product,” or GDP.

“It’s also important to recognize the secondary or less quantifiable impacts of these particular road construction projects, in addition to the many others VDOT is managing,” said Sean T. Connaughton, Secretary of Transportation. “The money construction firms and their workers spend in a community during the project, on food, lodging and other goods, benefits others in the locales. Once completed, these new projects will help to improve travel time and reduce crashes, making travel safer. They also will streamline transport of goods and services, thus increasing economic development.”

For example, according to the analysis, the $32.2 million active traffic management project on Interstate 66 in Fairfax and Prince William counties will use changeable message signs, radar detectors and closed-circuit cameras to allow the region’s transportation operation center to detect and respond promptly to incidents by opening shoulder lanes and/or changing the posted speed. During the project’s installation, the economists found it would provide 43 jobs over two years; $2.85 million in personal income; $4 million in gross state product; $245,000 in state tax revenue; and $29,000 in local tax revenue.

In the growing Louisa County area, the $7.95 million improvements to the Interstate 64 interchange at U.S. 15 will employ an innovative “diverging diamond” design at a fraction of the cost of building a new cloverleaf interchange, while preserving the remaining service life of the existing overpass to improve traffic flow in this congested area. Analysis of this project’s economic benefits found it would provide 87 jobs over four years; $4.56 million in personal income; $6.07 million in gross state product; $320,000 in state tax revenue; and $27,000 in local tax revenue.

The other projects included in this economic review are:

·         I-66/U.S. 15 interchange reconstruction, Prince William County

·         I-64 widening/Route 623 interchange improvements, Goochland County

·         Interstate 581/Valley View Boulevard interchange improvements (Phase II), Roanoke

·         U.S. 60/Shore Drive Lesner Bridge replacement, Virginia Beach

·         Fall Hill Avenue widening, Fredericksburg

·         Erickson Road relocation, Harrisonburg

·         Odd Fellows Road extension/interchange, Lynchburg

·         Route 640 reconstruction, Russell County

augusta free press
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