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Virginia Needs More Than Stimulus Can Provide

I think the slow start Virginia has made on its transportation stimulus projects is worth watching for potential consequences (see Post story today by Anita Kumar) but it pales by comparison to the underlying problem that the state doesn't have enough money to create the transportation network that travelers are seeking.

Virginia's most serious problem in getting federal money for transportation projects is the lack of state money to match all sorts of federal largesse as it becomes available.That was a huge concern outlined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer when he spoke to the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance this month. The commonwealth has gone into a protective mode, concentrating its spending on protecting the road and rail network it has, rather than upgrading or expanding it.

That same tone was struck by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in a Post op-ed essay that sounded a bit like a farewell address on state transportation issues. Kaine's conclusion:

"As I enter my last seven months as governor, I am pleased to see important projects moving in some parts of the commonwealth thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other federal programs. While I never thought I would say this, we could really make some progress if our state legislature had a commitment to Virginia's infrastructure that came close to matching the federal government's."

People driving through Northern Virginia are seeing lots of dirt getting moved on some very big transportation projects, such as the HOT lanes and the Metrorail extension through Tysons. But all that work is masking the lack of progress on the smaller stuff that could be easing trips to jobs or shopping or play.

The stimulus money will finance some very worthy projects for Virginia, Maryland and DC. You can keep track of them on our regional map. But like Virginia, the District and Maryland will use most of the money to protect the transportation investments they've already made, rather than creating solutions to congestion.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 9:04 AM ET
Categories:  Construction , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Gov. Kaine, Secretary Homer, federal stimulus  
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Would be nice in NOVA tax payers were not financing roads and maintenance in the rest of the state. Shame neither of the candidates for gov has a set large enough to address how Fairfax County tax payers get less 20 cents back in goods, services, cash back from Richmond for every tax dollar we send south. Its time for violent revolution in Virginia! And time to oust all the current knucklehead members of the Hosue in Senate from NOVA who are not serving their constituents. Hey Cucinelli I am talking about your bro! Stop being a lapdog for Jerry and pat on the State Republican party and take care of your constituents not Pat and Jerry.

Posted by: sheepherder | June 17, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

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