Va. DOT chief says there are “incredible” opportunities in post-recession economy

Scarce federal resources are forcing states to leverage the limited funds available for freight projects and need to be more creative in the manner in which those funds are distributed, Virginia’s transportation secretary says.

By ·

ARLINGTON, Va.—Scarce federal resources are forcing states to leverage the limited funds available for freight projects and need to be more creative in the manner in which those funds are distributed, Virginia’s transportation secretary says.
 
But he says there are bargain rates out there for states which are nimble enough to get infrastructure projects off the drawing board while road builders are still hungry for business.
 
“This is the time for us to invest in infrastructure—but the costs are amazing. Bids are coming in about two-thirds what we thought (things would cost),” said Sean Connaughton, Virginia’s transportation secretary

“Competition for infrastructure projects is incredible. We’re trying to speed up ways to put money out there on the street.”
 
Virginia is looking for a “long-term, sustainable” source of funding for transportation projects. But until then, creativity wins the day, he said.
 
“We’re trying to leverage the limited state and federal resources we have,” said Connaughton, Virginia’s transportation secretary since the first of the year when new Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell entered office.
 
Connaughton said he recently met with truckers along the north-south Interstate 81 corridor, a major freight lane, and said they have a unique nickname for the often-congested Capital Beltway around the nation’s capital.
 
“Truckers say they refer to this area (Washington, D.C.) as the big black hole, the congestion in this area,” Connaughton said.

Freight is being diverted from truck to rail because of that congestion. Freight railroads soon will be able to run double-stack trains from the port of Norfolk, Va., to the freight Mecca of the Chicago area.

“These are challenging times,” Connaughton said. “But there are great opportunities out there.”


About the Author

John D. Schulz
John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. John is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Lead your organization through the driver shortage and over-the-road regulations.
Potential transportation disruptions are looming as increased over-the-road regulations are set to go into effect in 2017. Experts believe these regulations will further impact the already challenged driver pool as well as reduce driver productivity.
Download Today!
From the January 2017 Issue
Following LM tradition, we start off the New Year with our annual “Rate Outlook” cover story and subsequent Webcast
Moore on Pricing: The other TMS functional options
2017 Rate Outlook: Where are freight transportation rates headed?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Rate Outlook: Where are freight transportation rates headed?
Join our panel of top oil and transportation analysts for an exclusive look at where rates are headed and the issues driving those rate increases over the coming year.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...

Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....