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Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton Addresses NVTC Board

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton joined the NVTC Board of Directors on Tuesday, September 10 at LMI in McLean to review transportation initiatives undertaken by the McDonnell administration, including the recently passed transportation funding legislation.

During his presentation, Connaughton described the efforts of the Va. Department of Transportation to increase revenue for Virginia’s transportation infrastructure needs. He outlined the elements of the transportation funding package passed during the 2013 General Assembly session, including funding transportation projects through an increased sales tax rather than a cents-per-gallon gas tax, which he argued is more reflective of the economy and would raise more revenue for transportation over time. The shift has resulted in Virginia having the lowest gas taxes in the continental United States. Combined revenue from the additional sales tax and other taxes and fees included in the recent legislation has increased the amount of money going to transportation projects in Virginia by 70 percent.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton
Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton addresses NVTC Board members at the September 10, 2013 Board meeting at LMI in McLean, Va.

Connaughton also spoke about the Department of Transportation’s six-year program, which includes dedicated funds for the Dulles Rail project, mass transit and passenger rail. He also explained the status of other current and future projects, including express lanes for Rt. 95, extending the express lanes of the Beltway, the possibility of express lanes on I-66, and the Bi-County Parkway in Prince William and Loudoun counties.

During a question and answer session, Connaughton addressed questions from board members on compromises in the recent transportation bill, Maryland’s involvement in cross-Potomac transportation projects and his support of the Bi-County Parkway.