Transportation Projects Could Suffer In Silver Line Trade-off
Gov. McDonnell says $300 million more for Silver Line might mean scrapping 40 other projects.
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration said last week 40 transportation projects across the state would be gutted if the state legislature includes another $300 million in bonding for Metro's Silver Line Phase 2.
The projects include three in Northern Virginia: Route 1 widening in Prince William County and the interchange at Route 659 and the Battlefield Parkway extension in Loudoun County, the Washington Post reports.
Most House and Senate budget negotiators agreed last week to a two-year, $85 billion spending plan. But negotiators stripped $300 million for the Silver Line from that plan after Gov. Bob McDonnell announced he would not support the extra Metro funding.
That position was a departure from his previous offers to direct more of Virginia's spending plan to the the rail that will eventually run from Falls Church to Dulles Airport, Howell said, the latest in what she calls a string of "mixed signals" this session about the governor's position on the issue.
Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton said the office only discussed the funding in "hypothetical terms," saying they had never materialized into official offers.
Without the extra money, tolls will nearly triple by 2018, some officials say; trips on the Dulles Toll Road could cost up to $4.50 by this time next year without an additional funding source.
The plan will come before the General Assembly on Tuesday. But at least one Senate Democrat will have to vote for the Republican-backed budget in order for it to pass. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) breaks tie votes in the evenly split chamber, but not on the budget.