The Hampton Roads 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the long-term transportation investment plan for the region, is in the final stages of development. The 2040 LRTP will allocate projected federal, state, regional, and local funds in order to maintain and improve our transportation system over the next 25 years. Under Federal law, LRTPs must be “fiscally constrained” or “financially feasible,” meaning all projects identified in the plan must have funding identified to cover the costs associated with the projects. The financial plan identifies how much money is reasonably available to help preserve our transportation system and support additional investments over the next 25 years to keep people and goods moving as efficiently as possible.
Historically, transportation investments in Hampton Roads have relied on various federal, state, and local sources. These sources are dependent on gas and sales taxes, and therefore, fluctuate with the economy. In recent years, challenging economic conditions have resulted in a bleak financial forecast of transportation revenues for Hampton Roads. In response to this bleak transportation funding forecast, the General Assembly created the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund (HRTF); through a dedicated gas tax and an increase in the regional sales tax, it is anticipated that HRTF revenues will generate an additional $170 million on average annually for transportation projects in Hampton Roads.
For the 2040 LRTP, based on the most current information regarding transportation revenues, the region can expect approximately $24.8 billion in funding for maintenance and construction for the transportation system over the next 25 years. Since maintaining existing roadways is a federal and state mandated priority, maintenance costs must first be accounted for before new transportation projects can be considered. Maintenance of the region’s transportation system over the next 25 years will account for almost half of the transportation funding forecast (48%). The forecast for HRTF is $8.4 billion; these funds are dedicated to the regional Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) projects and are allocated by HRTAC. The remaining $4.4 billion will be used to fiscally-constrain the committed and candidate projects for the 2040 LRTP.
The next step in the LRTP planning process will be to allocate anticipated regional funds to candidate transportation projects using the scores and project rankings from the HRTPO Project Prioritization process (which evaluates projects based on their technical merits and regional benefits). Over the past year, approximately 190 candidate projects have been evaluated for potential inclusion in the 2040 LRTP. Candidate projects include: increasing roadway capacity, expanding bridges and tunnels, replacing aging infrastructure, improving public transportation options, enhancing the movement of freight, and providing new or enhanced active transportation options. With an estimated total construction cost of almost $50 billion and just over $4 billion identified to fund construction (not including the $8.4 billion dedicated to HRTAC projects), HRTPO must prioritize the 190 candidate transportation projects. Over the next few months, working with regional stakeholders, a financially feasible draft list of projects and studies for the 2040 LRTP will be developed and presented to the HRTPO Board and public for consideration. Stay tuned as we continue to develop the Hampton Roads 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan!