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6/16/2011



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Virginia DOT lands six-year budget, forms public-private partnership office


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Yesterday, Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board adopted a six-year improvement program for fiscal years 2012 to 2017, which includes a $10.6 billion construction program, up 36 percent compared with the FY2011-2016 program. The new program’s budget will enable a number of rail, transit, transportation management, pedestrian and highway projects to move forward, according to commonwealth officials.

The budget includes $8.3 billion for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and $2.3 billion for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The program targets more than 900 projects recommended for funding through transportation legislation signed into law in April.

“After years of budget cuts and delaying critical projects, it is time to begin repairing our transportation infrastructure and tackling the congestion problems that continue to worsen with time,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in a prepared statement.

The DRPT’s FY2012 budget, which was adopted by the board, increased 3.3 percent compared with the FY2011 budget of $480.9 million. Rail and transit projects that will benefit from the increased funding include improvements to Norfolk Southern Railway infrastructure along I-81 as part of the Crescent Corridor; construction of the Kilby Support Yard; completion and operation of the Tide light-rail system in Norfolk; and new rail cars for transit operators throughout the commonwealth, according to VDOT.

Meanwhile, VDOT recently created an Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3), which will focus on the development of public-private projects across all transportation modes. OTP3 will work in conjunction with the commonwealth’s secretary of transportation and all six Virginia transportation agencies.

The office will be charged with developing multi-modal and intermodal projects “consistent with" state, regional and local transportation policies, plans and programs; encouraging private sector investment in transportation projects; establishing “reliable and uniform” processes and procedures to encourage private sector investment; and promoting economic growth and job creation, VDOT officials said.

VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick will serve as OTP3’s interim program director; Deputy Director Dusty Holcombe will be responsible for daily operations, as well as program and project management. To further create efficiencies and improve transportation planning, the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment will be co-located with OTP3, VDOT officials said.


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