Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rest Areas/Bob McDonnell Transportation Plan

As many of you know a bunch of rest areas on interstates in Virginia have been closed in the past 24 hours due to VDOT cut backs. I think this is a terrible decision by VDOT and that it was done without looking for alternatives. It will cause inconvenience to many citizens and guests of Virginia while they travel through the state and I believe that it will cause more accidents as there will no longer be places where drivers on long trips (especially truck drivers) will be able to stop, strech, and rest. Here's what Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling plan to do about it:

* The immediate creation of an “Adopt a Safety Rest Stop” program with Virginia businesses, community and civic organizations, modeled on the successful “Adopt a Highway” initiative, to help keep the safety rest stops open in the near term, without providing commercial services. Leaders of the Virginia Business Council have already been contacted and have indicated their willingness to help fund rest stop operations in the near term to help the State.

  • The General Assembly must explore creative financing structures to fund rest stop operations and maintenance during the 2010 session, and engage the private sector in new partnerships.
  • Governor Kaine and the Virginia Department of Transportation should promptly construct a more limited budget for rest stop operations, below the current 9 million dollar annual budget. We must work with local sheriffs, community corrections officers, as well as the state DOC to explore the feasibility of landscaping and clean-up of rest areas as an option for those currently sentenced to community service or eligible for work release programs. Many non-violent offenders are already successfully assigned to roadside clean-up work crews around the state.
  • The CTB budget should be reprioritized to allocate the necessary money to keep the rest stops open.
“I certainly understand that these are challenging economic times for VDOT and other state agencies,” said Bill Bolling. “However, I am concerned that the closure of these rest stops will eliminate safe, convenient opportunities for motorists to rest; make our highways more dangerous; damage Virginia’s tourism and hospitality industry; put more than 200 Virginians out of work; and increase congestion on secondary roads and at gas stations and restaurants near highways.”
If you are upset about the closing of the rest areas but are unsure of who you will be supporting in the statewide elections in the fall you should consider supporting Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli because they are going to fix this problem.

Also in Bob McDonnell's transportation plan which was unveiled today:

  • Privatize Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and dedicate proceeds to transportation
  • Pass legislation to capture increased revenue from growth in port operations, and invest in regional transportation projects
  • Take percentage of sales tax collected in Northern Virginia and put in regional transportation account
  • Issue $3 billion in available bonds for transportation, and support future bond issuance of $1 billion for highly congested areas
  • Expand 70mph speed limit, currently only allowed on stretch of Interstate 85 in southern Virginia, to sections of other interstates in Commonwealth
  • Dedicate percentage of new revenue growth to transportation
  • Spend 75% of future surplus funds on transportation
  • Dramatically expand Public-Private Partnership agreements for major priority projects
  • Protect Transportation Trust Fund
  • Audit VDOT to find and eliminate waste and inefficiencies; Seek greater autonomy from time-consuming federal regulations
  • Seek federal approval for use of 2nd and 3rd year stimulus dollars for transportation projects now
  • Support HOT lanes
  • Enact border tolling of traffic coming into Virginia from North Carolina along I-85 and I-95
  • Dedicate percentage of revenue from future offshore drilling to transportation
  • Prioritize transportation projects. Top of list: Widen I-66 in and out of Beltway; Complete, within budget and on time, rail to Dulles; Complete I-495 and I-395/95 HOT Lane Projects; Upgrade Route 460; Find consensus for Third Crossing and move forward; Build High Speed Passenger Rail; Improve I-81; Coalfields Expressway Completion
  • Provide telework tax credits
  • Create bipartisan transportation task force, led by former governors and congressmen, to evaluate Virginia’s transportation system and propose improvements
  • Employ smart traffic technologies, light synchronization and new traffic management systems

No comments:

Post a Comment