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McDonnell begins to outline ways to spend $1.5 billion from VDOT audit

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) began to lay out Tuesday how the state will spend almost $1.5 billion on transportation improvements over the next six years after an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation found that hundreds of millions of dollars have been sitting unspent in various accounts for several years.

McDonnell announced that:

  • $200 million will be doled out by the Commonwealth Transportation Board
  • $524 million will be allocated to specific projects by the board during a spring 2011 update to the six-year transportation improvement program
  • $200 million will be provided to VDOT's nine districts to meet critical maintenance needs
  • $130 million in inactive federal project balances already allocated to projects will be re-obligated to other active projects in coordination with localities
  • $400 million in toll credits will be allocated to specific projects as a state match to federal projects.

McDonnell also outlined a series of improvements to VDOT that must be met in the next couple years:

"VDOT met the deadline to develop a comprehensive action plan to improve its business practices and ensure that its past failures to fully utilize all available transportation funding do not reoccur,'' he said in a statement. "The VDOT action plan demonstrates forward-thinking, creative management techniques that we need to better leverage our available resources in order to address transportation needs around the Commonwealth. The citizens of Virginia expect better from their state government and we will meet those expectations."

Here are some of the improvements McDonnell is calling for:

  • VDOT will improve transparency and accountability by posting monthly financial and operational reports on its Web site, among other things. Target date: January 2011
  • VDOT will improve its use of technology by reconvening the Technology Steering Committee that will meet regularly to discuss a variety of issues. Target date: January 2011
  • VDOT's districts will plan their maintenance work to fully utilize their allotted resources and reduce the carryover of balances at the end of the fiscal year. Target date: Advertise fiscal years 2011 and 2012 paving and related contracts by December 2010 and December 2011, respectively.
  • VDOT will consider the effectiveness of its safety and congestion-mitigation efforts. Target date: June 2011

See the full report.

"Virginia's transportation challenges require us to find better ways of doing business and managing the taxpayer's dollars,'' Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton said. "This performance audit and implementation of VDOT's action plan will have an immediate impact on our economy and a lasting effect on Virginia's transportation infrastructure."

By Anita Kumar  | November 9, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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