Virginia’s Largest Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Legislative Progress
Yesterday, Virginia House and Senate Conferees crafted an agreement on a comprehensive, long-term transportation funding plan, which now moves to the General Assembly for a vote. Should it pass, this will be the first meaningful transportation funding legislation in nearly 30 years. How have Virginians spent those decades? According to Prince William Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rob Clapper, “stuck.”
“The lack of progress on this issue has been holding the businesses and people of the Commonwealth back. Northern Virginia faces one of the longest commute times in the nation; studies show this gridlock costs $1,398 and 67 hours per driver each year. That is money that could be spent in the local economy, time that could be spent on our businesses or in our communities,” said Clapper.
He added, “We commend the conferees for moving this funding package forward. Now, we urge the General Assembly to take action and avoid a transportation crisis for the Commonwealth. It is critical that we get the people and businesses of Northern Virginia moving again.”
State passage of significant, dedicated and new transportation regional and statewide funding sources to meet our critical transportation construction and maintenance needs is a long-standing priority of the Prince William Chamber, which was formed when two area chambers merged in summer 2010.
“The Prince William business community has been pushing for transportation funding solutions for decades. This issue topped the policy priorities of the chamber for years,” stated Clapper.
This compromise package will not only address the statewide maintenance and construction needs in Virginia, but will also support the additional needs in Virginia’s most congested regions, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The statewide component of the package, coupled with enabling Virginia’s two most congested regions to address their challenges, come together to create a solution that is good for all.
“This is an historic measure,” said Clapper of yesterday’s conference report. “It is the closest we have come to real transportation solutions in a very long time. We will be keeping our membership informed and engaged on the bill as details emerge.”
If fully implemented, it is estimated that the package would generate $880 million in 2018 of which $200 million comes from existing General Funds. The five-year transportation total is estimated at $3.5 billion. The regional component for Northern Virginia is estimated to generate an additional $350 million per year for regional projects.
The Chamber will be posting updates on the legislation on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pwchamber. Its full 2013 Public Policy Priorities document can be found online at www.pwchamberadvocate.org.