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Thursday, January 24, 2013    

Virginia governor recommends $1 billion for rail, transit


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed "Virginia's Road to the Future" transportation project list includes $1 billion for new rail and transit projects, his office announced Tuesday.

The governor's long-term transportation funding proposal would provide the Virginia Department of Transportation with $1.28 billion in new state funding that could be used for 158 highway projects, and $1.07 billion in new funds for rail and transit projects, state officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, the plan would provide $500 million so projects in the existing six-year improvement program would not be delayed due to lower revenue projections.

The passenger-rail and transit projects that McDonnell recommends include the Dulles Metrorail Extension; a passenger-rail extension to Roanoke; increased train service to and from Norfolk; and track improvements from Newport News to Richmond, and Richmond to Washington, D.C.

"The recommended list of transportation infrastructure projects represents a significant down payment on Virginia's transportation future," McDonnell said. "A world-class transportation system is vital to both economic opportunity and to the quality of life for every Virginian."

Funding for the projects would be in addition to dollars in the Commonwealth Transportation Board's existing six-year improvement program. McDonnell plans to recommend that the board advance the projects once his proposal passes the General Assembly, state officials said.

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