Road Funding Woes

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

September 29, 2006

"In real dollar terms we have about 30 percent of the transportation dollars that we had in 1996. It's a deplorable situation," said Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Dennis Rooker.

That described deplorable situation is the result of a lack of compromise in the General Assembly over transportation funding. A planned four day special session ended yesterday after just two days with no compromise and no solution in sight.

"We proposed legislation and in the end, only a very few number of things got out of the house and they were doomed to failure in the Senate," said Delegate David Toscano, D-57.

"We have to play the ball where we find it. We have to deal with what we have. Projects will be delayed," Rooker said.

The number one priority for the County is the construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway. Right now, there is a $5 million shortfall. To have it begin on time, the County will need to take money from other projects like Georgetown Road and Jarmans Gap Road to fund its construction putting those projects farther behind the eight ball.

"I think what we are seeing is the state walking away from it's transportation obligation and putting those obligations on the localities," Rooker said.

And if projections hold true, by the year 2010, the Commonwealth will have no money to fund any road projects. A dire situation that Toscano says demands action.

"Somehow we have to find a way to work together or the interest of the Commonwealth will be dramatically affected," he said.

There are no special sessions planned for the rest of the year. The next time the General Assembly will talk transportation will be during the new session in January. According to Toscano, if there are no changes in personnel, there is not much potential for a deal being struck even then.

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