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Friday, March 29, 2013
Last month, Virginia lawmakers passed the most important transportation funding bill in nearly three decades. Since then, many of our forward-thinking legislators and Gov. Bob McDonnell have taken a fair amount of heat for the passage of this bill.
As the senior vice president and general manager of Cox Communications Virginia, I understand the powerful economic impact that a robust transportation network can have on the commonwealth - and I understand the negative impact that has come from a lack of proper funding over the past 27 years.
That's why I stand with many Virginia business leaders in applauding this year's bold leadership of McDonnell and the General Assembly. Their transportation funding plan is historic. McDonnell's amendments to the plan ensure that it complies with the Virginia constitution and results in more than $5.9 billion in total revenue for transportation over the next five years.
This significant investment will improve interstate pavement, secondary system bridges, unpaved roads and other priority projects. These projects are vital to the success of companies that do business in Virginia today and to attracting new businesses.
Every time Cox Communications puts a truck on the road to install new service or address the service needs of our customers, traffic congestion and poor infrastructure maintenance cost our business and our customers time and money.
With more than 1.5 million residential and business communications service subscriptions in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Roanoke, those costs add up.
When that impact is magnified across all businesses and residents in the state, the estimated economic loss because of congestion is a staggering $3 billion or more a year. As our great state has fallen to 43rd in the nation in per capita spending on transportation, traffic and Virginia's transportation network limits as a whole have become one of the foremost challenges to the economic growth and expansion so critical to every family and business that calls Virginia home.
A recent study found that Northern Virginia has the most congested roads in the nation, and Hampton Roads is not far behind at number 20 among regions in the U.S.
For nearly 30 years, Virginians have waited for a solution while the purchasing power of revenue from our gas tax has declined by 55 percent. Funding bill after funding bill has been introduced in the General Assembly to address the long-term needs of the state, but all failed.
Every year Virginians waste time, money and gas sitting in traffic. That is unacceptable. This legislative initiative will grow our economy by adding good jobs, lowering gas prices and easing congestion.
According to one report, the legislation will result in 20,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in additional economic activity in the state. If you are in favor of a prosperous economic future for Virginia, you should be excited about these numbers.
On behalf of the 2,400 Cox employees across the state who are committed to providing our customers with exceptional service, I encourage the General Assembly to consider the amendments proposed by the governor and take the final vote needed to pass this bold plan for Virginia. Your leadership in developing a sustainable transportation funding solution will reduce congestion, promote economic activity, improve safety on our roadways and improve the quality of life for all Virginians now and for years to come.
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