Virginia's Transportation Funding
The Commonwealth Transportation Fund receives revenues from dedicated state and federal sources. The major state revenues are based on Virginia’s official revenue forecast developed by the Department of Taxation. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation estimate the federal revenues from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
Most transportation revenues are directed to a Commonwealth Transportation Fund and are then disbursed to the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund and Transportation Trust Fund. Funds from the Transportation Trust Fund are then distributed to provide support for other transportation agencies, certain uses specified in the Code, and finally, to construction. Construction funding is distributed as follows:
- 30% State of Good Repair
- 20% High-Priority Projects Program
- 20% Highway Construction District Grant Program
- 20% Interstate Operations and Enhancement Program
- 10% Virginia Highway Safety Improvement Program
State of Good Repair funds are used to address deficient bridge and paving needs.
Interstate Operations and Enhancement Program funds are used to improve the safety, reliability, and travel flow along interstate highway corridors in the commonwealth.
Virginia Highway Safety Improvement Program funds are used to support behavioral strategies and infrastructure improvements that address an identified highway safety problem.
Together, these programs improve the commonwealth’s ability to fund the right projects generating the greatest benefit.
Six-Year Improvement Program
The Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) is a document that outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction development or study for the next six years.
The SYIP is updated annually and is the means by which the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meets its statutory obligation under the Code of Virginia to allocate funds to interstate, primary, secondary and urban highway systems, public transit, ports and airports and other programs for the immediate fiscal year. The SYIP also identifies planned program funding for the succeeding five fiscal years. The CTB allocates funds for the first fiscal year of the SYIP, but the remaining five years are estimates of future allocations. State fiscal years start July 1 and end June 30.
The CTB updates the SYIP each year as revenue estimates are updated, priorities are revised, and project schedules and costs change.
Throughout the SYIP development process, there are various points of coordination with regional, metropolitan, and local groups, as well as opportunities for public participation. Development of the SYIP begins in the fall and the CTB hosts a series of meetings seeking public comment on transportation projects and priorities. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) carry out various project selection processes and projects are recommended for funding in the Draft SYIP presented to the CTB in the spring. The CTB hosts a series of public hearings to receive feedback on proposed projects and recommends adjustments to the Draft SYIP as necessary. A Final SYIP is presented to the CTB for adoption in June.
The SYIP contains projects selected for funding through one or more of the Board’s project selection processes as well as projects funded by others and administered by the Department. Candidate projects for most funding programs can be submitted for consideration through the SMART Portal. Individual projects are selected for funding and included in the SYIP, which is adopted by July 1 of each year.
In general, it is the intent of the CTB that projects included in the SYIP are to be fully funded through construction and delivered according to the established budget and schedule. If a locality or metropolitan planning organization requests the termination of a project or fails to advance a project to the next phase, then the locality or localities within the metropolitan planning organization may be required to reimburse the Department for all funds expended on the project.
Allocations available in the following funding programs will be programmed in the SYIP annually:
- Transit Programs pursuant to §33.2-1526.1(D)
- Freight Rail Programs pursuant to §33.2-1526.4 (DRPT share only) and §33.2-1602
- State of Good Repair Program pursuant to §33.2-369
- Regional Surface Transportation Program funds provided to metropolitan planning organizations pursuant to § 11109; 23 U.S.C. 133
- Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds pursuant to § 11115; 23 U.S.C. 149
- Highway Safety Improvement Program pursuant to § 33.2-373
- Special Structures Fund pursuant to §33.2-1532.
Allocations available in the fifth and sixth year of the SYIP under development for the following funding programs will be programmed in even-numbered fiscal year SYIP updates:
- High Priority Projects Program pursuant to §33.2-370 per the Board’s SMART SCALE Prioritization Process adopted in December 2021, and as revised;
- Highway Construction District Grants Program pursuant to §33.2-371 per the Board’s SMART SCALE Prioritization Process adopted in December 2021, and as revised.
Allocations available in the first and second year of the SYIP under development for the following funding program will be programmed in odd-numbered fiscal year SYIP updates:
- Surface Transportation Block Grant set-aside for Transportation Alternatives pursuant to § 11109; 23 U.S.C. 133.
Allocations available in the third and fourth year of the SYIP under development for the following program will be programmed in odd-numbered fiscal year SYIP updates:
- Revenue Sharing Program Pursuant to §33.2-357.
Subject to the provisions governing each of these programs, the CTB may adjust the timing of funds programmed to projects from previously adopted programs to meet the cash flow needs of the individual projects, maximize the use of federal funds, or to address revised revenue projections and project priorities. As part of the annual SYIP update, funds no longer needed for the delivery of a project will be reallocated consistent with Board’s priorities for programming funds and federal/state eligibility requirements.
Any funds from the State of Good Repair Program, High Priority Projects Program, Construction District Grants Program, Interstate Operations and Enhancement Program, and Virginia Highway Safety Program no longer needed for the delivery of a project and will be reserved to address budget adjustments on existing projects selected within those programs or reserved for allocation in the next solicitation cycle for those programs.