Back to work

Published 9:56 pm Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Virginia General Assembly took a couple of steps toward solving some of the commonwealth’s most pressing transportation problems this week with two decisions concerning Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed $4-billion road funding plan. The House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved the governor’s plan to accelerate borrowing to provide $3 billion of that money. And the Senate Finance Committee gave its nod to the plan, as well, clearing the way for a vote by the whole senate early this week.

“We took a major step forward today in our efforts to put the largest injection of funding into the commonwealth’s transportation system in a generation,” McDonnell said in a statement on Friday.

Among the 900 highway jobs the money would buy around the state are 16 “mega-transportation projects,” including improvements to the Midtown Tunnel and widening and improving of multiple sections of Route 58 in southern and western Virginia.

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McDonnell spent a portion of last week touting an economist’s projections that completing the 16 projects would help expand the commonwealth’s economy by $4.1 billion and support about 57,000 more jobs. Clearly the improvements are important to Virginia’s viability as a home for business and industry.

Now, the full Senate has a chance to weigh in on the matter. For the sake of the communities that have been held hostage by worsening traffic conditions and crumbling infrastructure, Senate action should take place quickly. And senatorial support for the governor’s proposal should be unequivocal, as well. It’s time for Virginia’s legislators to stop stalling and help the state get back to work.