Governor announces transportation challenge

Published 12:38 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

While Suffolk investigates options to provide a cheaper transportation alternative than the Hampton Roads Transit system, Gov. Bob McDonnell is challenging Virginians to use public transportation as a way of improving pollution.

McDonnell announced the Virginia Transportation Challenge Friday as part of the state’s celebration of Earth Day. The challenge encourages all Virginians to try a form of transportation other than driving alone once every two weeks. The challenge is designed to help Virginia residents begin to shift the way they look at their daily commute and make small changes that can have a big impact on congestion on Virginia highways and the quality of the environment.

“Sometimes driving alone really is the only option, but not always,” McDonnell said. “Sometimes taking the bus or train, carpooling, vanpooling or teleworking is an even better option. Every time you make the choice to not drive alone, you are helping reduce congestion on our highways and harmful emissions in our environment, and you are keeping a little extra money in your wallet.”

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Virginia’s population is expected to grow by 35 percent by 2035. Virginians, McDonnell said, must begin a fundamental shift in the way they travel to take greater advantage of the transportation options available.

Using the vast array of transportation options available in Virginia can deliver significant benefits, McDonnell added. Public transportation options reduce harmful gas emissions in the environment and gallons of gasoline used each year, remove cars from congested highways and help families save thousands of dollars. Options such as telework can remove the need to commute completely, saving millions of vehicle miles traveled.

McDonnell recently signed a transportation funding bill, as well as legislation that will provide tax credits to businesses that allow employees to work from home.

“The historic transportation funding legislation passed in the General Assembly, Virginia’s new telework tax credit legislation and the Virginia Transportation Challenge all work together to improve our transportation system to meet the demands of the future and help address the congestion we are facing today,” he said.