December 10, 2010
Virginia will apply about $4 billion over the next three years to address the state's staggering backlog of highway construction and maintenance projects, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday.
The Republican governor outlined the transportation financing plan he will put before the 2011 General Assembly during an address at transportation conference in Roanoke. Of the $4 billion, $3 billion comes from borrowing and existing debt.
McDonnell said he was authorizing the unusually heavy use of debt during a time of depleted transportation revenues to take advantage of low construction costs and interest rates in an economy struggling to rebound.
"Right now is the best time in modern Virginia history to get new roads and bridges built," according to remarks prepared for McDonnell to deliver Thursday to local elected officials, highway industry representatives and business leaders.
The announcement represents the largest infusion of new money into Virginia's cash-strapped highway construction coffers. From 2008 through last winter, the Commonwealth Transportation Board cut money available for its six-year program five times - reductions totaling $4.6 billion.
In justifying the new borrowing, the administration presented it partly as an economic development effort, saying that every $100 million spent on roadways creates about 3,000 jobs.
McDonnell said the state would issue about $1.8 billion in bonds - $600 million in each of the remaining three years of his term - authorized and backed solely by the state.
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