RICHMOND (WSLS 10) - Governor McAuliffe announced that Virginia's new data-driven prioritization process scored nearly 300 transportation projects proposed by localities and regional planning bodies across the state. The scoring is a key part of a new law, known as House Bill 2, developed on a bipartisan basis with House Speaker William Howell and Delegate Chris Stolle to invest limited tax dollars in the right transportation projects.
Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne also released a list of recommended projects to be funded based on the results of the scores, which will be reviewed and considered by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) over the next five months.
"This new law is revolutionizing the way transportation projects are selected," said Governor McAuliffe. "Political wish lists of the past are replaced with a data-driven process that is objective and transparent, making the best use of renewed state funding received in 2013 and the recently approved federal transportation funding. Each project is scored based on its merits and value, making Virginia the first state in the nation to use such an outcome-based prioritization process."
More than 130 localities and metropolitan planning organizations submitted proposed projects totaling nearly $7 billion in funding, to be scored under House Bill 2. About $1.7 billion is available.
"This process was developed with extensive opportunity for public review," said Transportation Secretary Layne. "Meetings to review the process were held in several locations throughout the state, plus the projects were made available online. The prioritization process improves the transparency and accountability of Virginia's transportation program. Public engagement will continue through the spring prior to the CTB adopting the final six-year program in June."
The law requires projects to be scored based on how they ease congestion, improve economic development, provide accessibility to jobs, improve safety and environmental quality, and support transportation-efficient land use. Projects in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads score higher if they reduce congestion. Projects in other parts of the state score higher if they support economic development. The Commonwealth held numerous sessions with localities to incorporate their input in developing the scoring system.
The CTB will seek input on recommended scenarios of funded projects during hearings in the spring. Following public input, the Board will determine which projects to fund and include in the six-year program.
Projects meet scoring requirements if they are eligible for funding under the High Priority Projects Program and the District Grant Program. In addition, projects must demonstrate that they meet a need identified in the Commonwealth's long-range plan, VTrans2040, which examines Corridors of Statewide Significance, regional networks and improvements to promote urban development areas. The CTB must consider highway, transit, rail, road operational improvements and transportation demand projects, including vanpooling and ridesharing.
Projects funded with federal safety dollars, and projects that rehabilitate aging pavements and bridges are exempted from scoring.
CTB presentation on scored projects: http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2016/jan/pres/HouseBill2.pdf
List of scored projects: http://www.virginiahb2.org/projects/default.asp
House Bill 2 website: http://www.virginiahb2.org/